Tough day for Knight ATL prosecution overshadows attorney

Appliance Trader Limited Pension Fraud

ATL prosecution overshadows attorney

February 13, 2014

VETERAN attorney K D Knight found the going tough all day yesterday as prosecutors in the ATL Pension fraud case punched deep holes in his cross-examination of an expert witness, leaving him visibly frustrated.

Knight, using the Internet as his source, relied heavily on two cases in which Erich Speckin, a top American forensic scientist, appeared to try to discredit the expert witness, in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court, Half-Way-Tree.

But Knight appeared to have the wind knocked out of him when lead prosecutor, R N A Henriques showed convincingly that findings in the main case cited from a Hong Kong court had been successfully appealed and, moreover, the judge in that case had been severely castigated for “dishonesty” in just using criticisms of Speckin by the opposing counsel as his (the judge’s) own.

After that, it was all downhill for the veteran attorney who kept disrupting the witness, raising his voice at him at times and ignoring the persistent attempts of presiding Senior Magistrate Lorna Shelly Williams to stop speaking so that she could take her notes.

At one point Knight threw a document from which he was cross-examining the expert to the floor in apparent anger. At another point he walked out of the courtroom for a brief while, mumbling as he did so.

The attack on Speckin’s reputation, schooling and methods used characterised Knight’s examination of the witness who gave powerful evidence that the letters presented by three former ATL executives purporting to give consent for the distributions of millions from the pension fund in 1998, 2002, 2005 and 2008 were all signed at the same time and while stacked atop each other.

Speckin on Monday had testified that he used a machine called the ESDA to detect the impression of the signature left on the various letters. He had said in his report that the signature was that of accused Dr Jeffery Pyne.

But Knight yesterday asked Speckin if he had done an analysis to determine if the signature was indeed that of Pyne’s. The witness said ‘no’ and Knight later went on to ask if, having not done such an analysis, it was reckless to say that the signature was Pyne’s but the expert said ‘no’.

Defence attorney Frank Phipps remained quiet for almost the entire session, except for a brief moment when he supported an objection, and Deborah Martin offered no questions after Knight had completed his cross-examination. Henriques then briefly re-examined Speckin before the magistrate released him.

Dr Jeffery Pyne, a former managing director of Gorstew Ltd, the holding company for Gordon ‘Butch’ Stewart’s group of companies; Patrick Lynch, the former chairman of the pension fund; and Catherine Barber, former general manager of the fund, are believed to have conspired in the forging of four letters to deceive that consent was given for the distribution of $1.7 billion in pension fund surplus.

The prosecution maintains that the letters, which were presented to Stewart by Barber, were backdated to 1998, 2002, 2005, and 2008. Importantly, Pyne, who signed the letters, had left the company seven months before December 15, 2010 when the alleged forgery was discovered. Lynch was the alleged mastermind behind the scheme, the court was told.

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