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“They have built their case on the sand,” that summed up the argument of  lead Defense Attorney, Keith Knight QC, who  sought to drive home a no  case  submission  last Friday in the ongoing extortion and bribery trial of former PLP MP and ex- Public Hospitals Authority Chairman, Frank Smith.

Defense attorneys insisted that  there is insufficient evidence to convict Frank Smith of the 13 counts of extortion, one count of attempted extortion and one count of bribery.

The allegations stem from what allegedly took place between Smith and Magic Touch Cleaning Company Owner, Barbara Hanna, between April 2016 and April 2017.

It is alleged that during that period, Smith solicited a monthly fee of $5,000 from Mrs. Hanna after  having assisted her in securing a cleaning contract for the critical care block of the Princess Margaret Hospital.

According to Attorney Knight, there is insufficient evidence that Smith and Hanna met prior to 2016.

This he said, cannot simply be proven,  because of her word and that Hanna had her dates wrong.

Knight argued that Hanna’s testimony proves she knows of the procedures of the tender documents and that after submitting that is the end of a role.

He further stressed that Hanna and Smith would have had to meet before the tender was submitted, but that there is no evidence to support this, adding that it doesn’t make sense to meet before, so it would have had to happen after.

Mr.Knight said, “the question is did the conversation take place at all.” 

He said the logic of it all is that it never did.

In a further attempt to dismantle the prosecution’s case, Mr. Knight said had it been their case, the call log between Smith and Hanna would have started before 2016.

He said no reliance can be placed on the prosecution’s evidence to establish Hanna and Smith’s first meeting. They cannot infer that it was 2016, and even if this were the case, Hanna was not called to clarify her dates of whether it was in fact 2015 or 2016.

The crown had earlier attempted to prove that there was evidence of  Hanna being under Smith’s extortion, explaining that Hanna paid Smith’s lending company, Pouland instead of NIB.  There was no dispute of phone contact between Smith and Hanna; that National Security Minister, Marvin Dames, and Health Minister, Dr. Duane Sands equally, did not interfere as Sands documented his approval of her contract in a transparent manner.

Lead Crown Counsel, Edward Jenkins QC, added that Hanna’s character and demeanor must be taken into account.

Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt will give her ruling on February 1.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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