Babsy begs for Jephthah Ford

October 28, 2017
Dr Jephthah Ford arriving at the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court ahead of sentencing this morning.
Olivia Babsy Grange, Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sport.

Government minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange yesterday said it would be "traumatic" for hundreds of Jamaicans if convicted medical doctor Jephthah Ford is sent to prison.

Grange, who is the Minister of Sports, Culture and Gender Affairs, was giving character evidence during Ford's sentencing hearing in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court yesterday.

Stating that she was a "little emotional" as she took the witness stand, Grange described Ford as a caring person who has saved many lives and provided free health care to countless persons.

"He cares about people regardless of their status in life or their political persuasion," Grange testified, acknowledging their affiliation to opposing political parties.

"Our political differences have never affected our relationship," she added.

Ford, a three-time losing People's National Party (PNP) candidate, was convicted on two counts of attempting to pervert the course of justice in August.

He was convicted of offering a police sergeant millions of dollars to release two Surinamese men who were held during a police operation along Half-Way Tree Road, in St Andrew, with US$533,886 or approximately J$55 million.

The trial featured testimony from police sergeant Franklyn McLaren that he secretly made a recording of Ford offering him millions of dollars to end the investigation against the two men and release the cash.

Yesterday, Grange testified that she has known  Ford for 37 years and said he has been her family doctor for decades. She also said that Ford has treated free of cost, scores of persons she recommended to him.

"He has been doing that for me since I was a senator," she recounted.

Dr Ford is the third high-profile Jamaican to be convicted of attempting to pervert the course of justice in recent times. 

Clergyman Al Miller was last September ordered to pay a fine of $1 million or spend 12 months in prison after being found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice.

Miller was found guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice after then-wanted man Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke was found in a car the pastor was driving.

Coke, at the time, was wanted on an extradition warrant in the United States. He had been on the run for a month after eluding a massive police-military operation in his Tivoli Gardens stronghold.

Miller has filed an appeal against his conviction and sentence.

Also filing an appeal against a conviction and sentence for attempting to pervert the course of justice is Senior Superintendent James Forbes.

Forbes, who was head of the JCF's Community Safety and Security Branch at the time of his arrest, was in 2014 found guilty of the offence. He was fined $800,000 or six months at hard labour.   

Ford will have to wait until Thursday, when his sentencing hearing resume, to find out whether the judge will be sending him to prison.

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