Bank manager beats fraud case after prosecutor fouls up
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Paula Llewellyn yesterday surrendered an eight-year-old fraud case because of prosecutorial misconduct.
The case, which involved 44-year-old Lowell Spence, a manager at the National Commercial Bank, who was accused of stealing $5 million. Spence was charged with money laundering, obtaining money by fraud and conspiracy in 2009.
"After eight years, I am happy it is over, and justice has been served," Spence said.
His lawyer, Bert Samuels, told THE WEEKEND STAR after the ruling that Sophia Thomas, who was representing the Crown before the DPP stepped in, was responsible for the misstep.
Thomas, while leading a witness who was in the witness box, realised that she could not find the witness' original of a statement. She asked for an adjournment to produce the original of the statement. She then took another statement from the witness, which was found, in some parts, to be inconsistent with the original statement.
Llewellyn told the court that the credibility of the Crown's case had been damaged and it would not be in the interest of justice for the matter to proceed.
"I believe that the credibility of the Crown's case has been, so damaged that when I take that into account, and also the lack of availability of what would be the most critical witness in this matter, it is my belief that it would not be in the overall interest of justice for this matter to proceed," Llewellyn said.
Llewellyn described Thomas's action as an 'error in judgement' and apologised to the court.
"I don't think you all understand how uncommon this is," defence attorney Christopher Townsend said outside of court.
Samuels said in the 38 years since he has been called to bar, he has never seen something like this.
"I have never, during the trial process, seen the DPP surrendering and stopping it for prosecutorial misconduct," Samuels said.