Follow on – (Kern Spencer story) – DPP ordered to turn over notes to defence

SENIOR Magistrate Judith Pusey yesterday ruled that Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn disclose to the defence in the Cuban Light bulb trial any notes she may have taken during a meeting with Rodney Chin shortly before the corruption charges against him were dropped.

Pusey also ordered that the DPP disclose to the defence the substance of what transpired at the meeting, which took place at the chambers of Chin’s attorney, Richard Small, in November 2008.

In the event that no notes were taken, as Llewellyn had vehemently maintained, Pusey ordered that she put in writing her interview of Chin. “The authorities from other jurisdictions, which are persuasive, suggest that if no note or memorandum in writing was created then a written account should be presented,” Pusey said in her written ruling.

Llewellyn was given until next week Monday to make the disclosure for the expected continuation of the trial on Tuesday in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate’s Court. Pusey’s ruling follows an application on Wednesday by lawyers representing former junior energy minister Kern Spencer and his co-accused Coleen Wright, that Llewellyn turn over the notes that she had been taking during the meeting, according to evidence given by Chin on Monday.

The lawyers — Queen’s Counsel KD Knight and Patrick Atkinson — also asked that the substance of the meeting be disclosed.  The charges against Chin — who had been arrested along with Spencer and Wright in the Cuban light bulb scandal in February 2008 — were dropped by the DPP shortly after the meeting.  Chin subsequently became the Crown’s main witness against Spencer and Wright.

The application for disclosure was made after Chin on Monday testified that Llewellyn had been taking notes at the meeting.  The defence is of the view that Llewellyn had offered to drop the charges against Chin in return for his evidence. But both Chin and Llewellyn have maintained that no deal was struck.  Chin had testified earlier that he came forward out of a desire to tell the truth.  An application was also made on Wednesday for the case against Spencer and Wright to be thrown out, but Pusey said yesterday that she would not, “at this juncture”, consider that matter in light of her ruling on the issue of disclosure.

“In light of the decision… it is not necessary to deal with the question raised by Mr Atkinson regarding dismissing the matter at this juncture on the basis of unfairness,” Pusey wrote. Atkinson, who is Spencer’s lead counsel, yesterday hailed Pusey’s ruling.  “This is a major victory for justice and fairness,” he told reporters outside of the court. Llewellyn told the Observer yesterday that she would comply with Pusey’s order.  “I have no notes … I was trying to assess his [Chin] credibility for myself. Certainly as far as I can recollect, I will make every effort to reduce what I can remember into writing,” said Llewellyn.  Spencer and Wright are facing trial for corruption in connection with irregularities in the distribution of four million energy-saving light bulbs, which were a gift from the Cuban Government.

Yesterday, it was expected that the matter of Spencer’s bail would be raised following the arrest of his surety, Patrick Roberts, on a charge of illegal possession of a firearm on Wednesday. However, the issue was not raised. Section 21 of the Bail Act stipulates that persons against whom criminal charges are pending cannot stand surety.  Spencer is currently on $10 million bail.

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