DEFENCE lawyer Tom Tavares-Finson last night withdrew as attorney for Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, the Tivoli Gardens strongman facing extradition to the United States on alleged drug- and gun-trafficking charges.
“…I am setting up a team and stepping aside as the matter moves to court in order to avoid conflict of interest,” Tavares-Finson confirmed to the Observer last night, just hours after the police announced that they were in possession of an arrest warrant issued by the court to begin extradition proceedings against Coke.
Moments after Prime Minister Bruce Golding announced Monday night that an authority to proceed with the extradition request would be signed, Tavares-Finson — a Government senator and member of the Electoral Commission of Jamaica — said he would be appealing the order in court.
Tavares-Finson has been representing Coke since the Americans last August asked Jamaica to extradite the businessman and supporter of the governing Jamaica Labour Party.
The US says nine co-conspirators have given information on Coke’s alleged involvement in drug- and gun-trafficking. Coke, the Americans say, has been under surveillance since 1994.
The Opposition People’s National Party had called for Tavares-Finson to resign as a member of the Senate because of a conflict of interest in his representation of Coke.
Tivoli Gardens is an enclave of Prime Minister Golding’s West Kingston constituency.