Chief Magistrate Ian Weekes today ruled that any statements given by Kamante Millar, the former Chief Financial Officer of the Insurance Corporation of Barbados Ltd (ICBL), be given to the attorneys representing businessman Alex Theodore Tasker.
He made the ruling after hearing submissions from Tasker’s defence team of Queen’s Counsel Andrew Pilgrim and Neville Reid.
Tasker is before the court following a request for his extradition to the United States to stand trial on money laundering charges. Prosecutors allege that between August 2015 and April 2016 he conspired with others to launder money into the US from outside the US in violation of US law.
When the matter was called in the District ‘A’ Magistrates’ Court today Pilgrim stated that the Crown – represented by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Alliston Seale and Senior Crown Counsel Oliver Thomas – had given his side transcripts of the trial which took place in the U.S involving former Government minister Donville Inniss. However, he said he was still without disclosure with regards to Millar.
Seale said that he had made the request but only received the entire transcript handed over to the defence lawyers.
“I have received nothing else and the Crown is standing on that which we have,” the prosecutor said adding that he was prepared to make arguments or respond to any submissions made by the defence.
“We said it before that we were standing even on what was sent in the package as it relates to the extradition request and that was only the information as it related to Ms Millar and the evidence as it related to her part at ICBL and how it encompass this whole situation of former minister Inniss and what they refer to as the co-conspirators, Mr Tasker now before the court . . . That is the sum total of the allegation,” said Seale. “We rest on that. For the purpose of this extradition and for the purpose of establishing a prima facie case . . . “
However, Pilgrim made it clear that his team was “entitled” to disclosure of all the statements that Millar had made relevant to the current proceedings.
“While my friend can rest, that is alright for him. I am here as the spokesperson for a person who may wind up in a prison overseas. So that the same disclosure that I would get for any client of mine who comes here charged indictably I would expect to get in this matter. No less, no more,” Pilgrim stated, saying the request was made previously.
The Queen’s Counsel said he understood that in this case, the Crown proposed to rely on a transcript of Millar’s evidence given in a trial. He then asked the court to rule that the matter “ought not to proceed” in the absence of full disclosure.
“We see that disclosure as being vital to this preliminary inquiry if I can call it that and to be a cornerstone of my client’s [case],” the defence attorney added.
But the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions said while the court has its function, it “cannot guide the prosecution’s case to say we need this and we need this and this is insufficient. The question is, is what is in the bundle sufficient?”
He however submitted that he would continue his quest to get the disclosure that the defence sought.
In ruling on the arguments Chief Magistrates Weekes stated that justice demanded that he looked at the matter in its entirety saying that “A man accused, he is not going to be subjected to penalties here but subject to penalties elsewhere over which we have no control.”
He added that the law was clear when it came to the relevant disclosure being provided.
“I am not seeking to tell the prosecution what to do with its case . . . but I can’t ignore . . . the relevance of information for the defence and if that relevance can be satisfied I think that justice demands it…That the information in relation to the statements from Ms Millar be provided to the defence.
“I determine that if they are available they would be relevant to the case. The information requested should be provided . . . and if it cannot be provided why,” Weekes said before adjourning the matter until April 13.