As the Prime Minister begins to testify and the end of the Enquiry looms, we can start to consider what the whole spectacle has contributed to Jamaica apart from a couple of months of must-see-TV.
Well, so far the Enquiry has contibuted new insults and fun phrases to the Jamaican lexicon.
Patrick Atkinson, addressing Hugh Small :
Go and buy a tie ! Twit !
Dodo and Dr. Adolph Edwards to Patrick Atkinson:
Mr. Coke extradited himself.
K.D. Knight to witnesses, the Commissioners and fellow counsel on innumerable occasions:
No! No! No!
K.D . Knight to Dodo:
When would reason have so fled from me……
Dorothy Lightbourne, repeatedly, to all lawyers cross-examining her:
That is so.
That is not correct.
There was a snowstorm coming.
Minister of National Security Dwight Nelson repeatedly to K.D. Knight:
I can’t recall.
I don’t recall.
All the lawyers to all the witnesses:
Isn’t it true…..?
I suggest to you….
I’m sure there’s more.
The cross-examination of Dorothy “Dodo” Lightbourne, Minister of Justice and Attorney-General continued this week. It was excruciating to watch. When K.D. Knight finished his cross-examination, Patrick Atkinson (representing Peter Phillips) started work. When he was done, Oliver Smith (representing Solicitor-General Douglas Leys) began. When he was done, it was time for the JDF ‘s attorney Linton Gordon to begin.
By this time Dodo was insisting that she had (1) never done anything wrong ever, (2) took no responsibility for anything ever, and (3) when pressed, was doubling down on blaming any and every one who ever had the misfortune to work for her.
After a brief intermission where John Vassall, representing Dwight Nelson, fixed Dodo up for a couple of hours with lots of nice questions allowing her to reiterate her “legal arguments” without contradiction, it was time for Lord Gifford to cross-examine Dodo.
Lord Gifford representing the Office of the DPP
Lord Gifford’s cross-examination was much praised the next day for its apparent contrast with the more aggressive questioning of K.D. Knight and Patrick Atkinson. However, Dodo managed to frustrate him just as she had frustrated everyone else.
Far from getting her to withdraw her allegations that his client Jeremy Taylor, Deputy DPP, had given bad advice to the U.S. and was responsible for the whole debacle (the deaths of 73 people in Tivoli), Lord Gifford only made her more vehement and more determined not to take any blame whatsoever.
He ended by being as rude to her as an English gentleman could manage. Sample lines:
Minister, does your knowledge of criminal law extend to….? (Translation: You ignorant fool! K.D. was right to say that you completely misunderstand the law!)
Minister, try to concentrate on what I’m asking…(Translation: Answer the question, you incredibly stupid woman!)
Well, Dodo’s testimony was finally over and we were able to contemplate the last-minute bombshells detonated by Oliver Smith and Hugh Small:-
The Sept 16, 2009 email from Dodo to Douglas Leys and Harold Brady
Although it seemed impossible that any more holes could be blasted in Dodo’s testimony by the cold hard facts, Oliver Smith produced an email which indicated that Dodo was briefing Harold Brady, the JLP’s acknowledged point man on the extradition, 3 weeks after the request was first received. Boom !!!! Only totally contrary to all her previous testimony re Brady……
The letter from Manatt to Dodo
K.D.Knight had asked for the letter that Dodo had written to Manatt (telling them they had been employed by the JLP) and Manatt’s reply. However no one questioned her on them, and Oliver Smith asked that the reply from Manatt not be read out as he had not had a chance to cross-examine Dodo or his client about it.Too bad for him and his client that on Friday morning Hugh Small read out the reply from Manatt anyway.
The reply, which reiterated that they had been employed by the Government of Jamaica, mentioned that they, Manatt, had been in email correspondence with Solicitor-General Douglas Leys since September 2009….Boom!!!…Big hole in Douglas Leys credibility right there. He had testified that he didn’t know that Harold Brady was involved, or that Manatt had been hired, until December 2009….Before he might have seemed a dupe and a patsy…..now looking more like a co-conspirator……
And now we come to:
Dirty tricks and bad mind (Frank Phipps section)
Frank Phipps has spent a lifetime in the criminal justice system in Jamaica and he has a first class knowledge of how witnesses can be intimidated.
Early on in the proceedings he attacked Rear Admiral Hardley Lewin by exposing his wife.
This week he showed us that that was not so much a slip-up as a Mode of Operating (MO).
After Oliver Smith had produced his bombshell email, everyone (K.D. Knight, Patrick Atkinson, Oliver Smith, Lord Gifford) asked the Commissioners to call the secretary who had sent the email to testify at the Enquiry. Moments after the Commissioners had agreed to do this, Frank Phipps said that the poor lady ought to lose her current job.
While we can understand why Frank Phipps, as the lawyer for the JLP, wants to discourage witnesses from giving evidence against his clients (in this case, prominent JLP member Dorothy Lightbourne) his objection was unlikely to have any effect on the Commissioners who already knew who the secretary was, and that she was employed to them.
It seems that the outburst had only one purpose : to intimidate not only the secretary, but also anyone else who might be thinking of providing evidence to the Enquiry.
This little incident was just the appetizer for the afternoon. Oliver Smith came back after lunch to say that his client, Solicitor-General Douglas Leys, was prepared to make his computer and his email account available to the Commissioners so that the authenticity of the email could be verified. Well, who told him to say that ???!!!
Frank Phipps and Dodo got to work and, minutes later, 5 officers from the Cyber unit of the Jamaica Constabulary Force were at Douglas Leys’ New Kingston office trying to seize his computer. The police subsequently apologised and there is to be an investigation.
Oh, wait ! Same afternoon we also had the “manila envelope” scare happening between the news that the secretary would be testifying and the police going to the Solicitor-General’s office.
Yeah, so not surprising the first day of the Prime Minister’s testimony seemed sort of boring after the day before. Hugh Small led the Prime Minister through his testimony as if they were playing hopscotch. Not sure why Small wanted to jump from one thing to another as he did, but I guess all will become clear.
The press were so desperate that they had to make news out of the Prime Minister and K.D. Knight having a friendly chat during “elevenses”. As I recall, the Prime Minister and Karl Samuda were the only members of the JLP to attend the funeral of K.D. Knight’s son in 2007 shortly after the JLP had taken office.
At the time, there was no reason to think that K.D. Knight would ever again play a prominent role in Jamaican politics. He had declined to run again in the 2007 General Election, and was returning to his law practice. So when the PM and Samuda took time to go to the funeral, you can know that was a sign of genuine affection and respect for K.D.. Expect it to be reciprocated.
Next week: Mrs. Beverly (Ministry of Justice) and Verna McGaw (former secretary to Dodo), followed by more from the Prime Minister