Delays in Frank Smith case aggravates court

Frank Smith, centre, with his legal team.

The Frank Smith extortion case resumed Monday in the Magistrate’s court. The Former Progressive Liberal Party Senator (PLP) is charged with extorting $60,000 from Barbara Hanna who received contracts while Smith served as chairman of the Public Hospital’s Authority (PHA).

In court yesterday, Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt expressed concern about the number of adjournments in the case, as attorneys representing the Crown and Smith tried to determine when and how the case would proceed as they both have other obligations. Ferguson-Pratt said that the court stands ready and willing to facilitate an expedited process of the case.

Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands was expected to give testimony however the court was told that he would not be available until Wednesday.

Instead, the court heard from PHA employee Leslie Issacs who was asked by Smith attorney, Keith Knight Q.C., to verify a document related to a salary deduction form signed by Adrian Hanna. Issacs said she could not as it was the first time she has seen such a document.

Issacs was also shown a letter awarding Magic Touch company, owned by Barbara Hanna, a contract allegedly approved by the Tender Analysis Committee. She was questioned on the process of approval and whether or not the process changed following the last general election.

Testimony continues at 10 a.m. Tuesday.