Frank Smith at a previous court appearance.
By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE trial of former Progressive Liberal Party Senator Frank Smith’s multiple extortion and bribery related charges was adjourned to today due to the unavailability of a stenographer.
Before yesterday’s adjournment, however, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt, who is hearing the matter, informed the court that a stenographer would be available for the remainder of the trial.
She stressed that she personally insisted on having a stenographer present for the trial’s duration, a sentiment she said was previously agreed to by both the Crown and the defence.
The case starts at 10am today.
Smith is facing 15 criminal charges concerning his alleged solicitation of $65,000 in bribes from a woman he is said to have assisted in getting a contract. He is currently out on $50,000 bail.
He was initially arraigned before the Chief Magistrate in July charged with 13 counts of extortion and one count of attempted extortion and bribery.
The extortion and attempted extortion charges were brought under section 452(1) of the Penal Code while the bribery charge was brought under Sections 4(2)(a) and 10(b) of the Prevention of Bribery Act.
It is alleged that Smith, between April 2016 and April 2017, in respect of his duties as a public officer, demanded and obtained $5,000 per month from Barbara Hanna, knowing he was not lawfully authorised to do so.
He is also alleged to have attempted to extort another $5,000 from Ms Hanna in May of this year.
Concerning the bribery charge, it is alleged that he solicited $5,000 a month from Ms Hanna for aiding her in getting a contract with the Public Hospitals Authority.
Smith pleaded not guilty to all of the allegations during his arraignment.
Within an hour of the arraignment, Smith’s lead attorney, Damian Gomez, QC, and assisting lawyers, Glendon Rolle and Valentine Grimes, appeared before Senior Justice Stephen Isaacs asking for Smith to be released from custody ahead of trial.
Anthony Delaney and Al-Leecia Delancy are the two Crown prosecutors on record for the matter. Mr Gomez, along with Keith Knight, QC, and Philip McKenzie, represent Smith.