The future of an extradition motion brought by Attorney General and Justice Minister Dorothy Lightbourne hinges on a ruling from Supreme Court Judge Roy Jones on whether Opposition Leader Portia Simpson Miller should remain a defendant in the matter.
Lightbourne has asked the court to make a determination on her powers as attorney general under the Extradition Act and has named Simpson Miller as a defendant.
Simpson Miller was one of three persons named as defendants in the motion. Joseph M. Matalon, for and on behalf of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), and Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke, the businessman around whom the extradition issue revolves, are the other persons named as defendants.
The Gleaner has learnt that during the hearing in chambers yesterday, Lightbourne, the claimant, took the position that there was no basis for the second defendant, Matalon, to remain as a defendant.
Coke has not been served and is therefore under no obligation to take a seat in court and respond.
It means that Simpson Miller stands as the sole defendant in the matter, but lawyers representing her have argued strongly that she should be released.
If she is released, there would be no basis upon which the matter would proceed.
Yesterday, Queen’s Counsel K.D. Knight and attorneys-at-law John Junor and Abe Dabdoub, who are representing Simpson Miller, and R.N.A. Henriques, QC, and attorney Richard Small, who represent the PSOJ, argued that they should be released as defendants in the motion because they had no knowledge, information, documents or evidence that could assist the court in the proceedings.
However, attorneys-at-law Dr Lloyd Barnett and Dr Adolph Edwards opposed Simpson Miller’s application and argued that she should remain a defendant because she was the leader of the opposition and had a constitutional duty.
Lightbourne said in court documents that Simpson Miller and the PSOJ had been named as defendants because of public views expressed by them on the extradition issue.
She said Coke was named as a defendant because he is the person involved in the extradition request.
The Gleaner understands the attorney general’s lawyers said in chambers that her decision, to concede that Matalon should not have been named as a defendant, was based on the affidavit given by Matalon. In that affidavit, he said the PSOJ, in its public statement, was in no way disputing the minister’s powers under the Extradition Act.
The PSOJ was not released as a defendant as Jones has reserved his decision in the applications for a later date. It is expected that the judge will hand down his decision later this month. Lightbourne has taken the decision not to sign the authority to proceed with the extradition for Coke, who is wanted in the United States to face drug and firearm-trafficking charges. She filed the motion in the Supreme Court on April 14, seeking declarations as to her powers under the Extradition Act.
Lightbourne and Solicitor General Douglas Leys attended the hearing, but the motion for the declarations was not heard yesterday, as it will have to await the judge’s ruling on the applications for the defendants to be released.