Sands’ testimony causes conflict in court



Health Minister Dr. Duane Sands was expected to explain to the court on Wednesday, why he granted  a$1.8 million cleaning contract to Magic Touch Cleaning Company owned by Barbara Hanna, without board approval, however, Dr. Sands was stopped minutes into his testimony due to what the defense claimed was more a less a breakdown in the case.

It was previously reported that Hanna received a second contract for cleaning services of the Critical Care Unit (CCU) at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) less than three months after bribery and extortion charges were brought against former Public Hospital’s Authority (PHA) Chairman Frank Smith.

Hanna allegedly paid Smith $65,000 in bribes.

Smith has been accused of bribery and extortion, charges of which he pleaded not guilty to.

The matter is being heard before Chief Magistrate Joyanne Ferguson-Pratt.

Smith is represented by Keith Knight, QC and Damian Gomez, QC.

Edward Jenkins, QC, along with Al-Leecia Delancy appear on behalf of the crown.

In yesterday’s proceedings, Dr Sands told the court, that according to guidelines, contracts over 250,000 must be approved by the board of directors and the minister of health.

But he said there are circumstances where the board’s approval is not required, as was the case in 2014 and 2015.

Dr.Sands was immediately stopped by Knight, who informed the court that Dr Sands was providing testimony to the court that was not disclosed to the defence or obtained in Dr Sands’ previous statement provided to the police.

Knight argued that the Crown has a duty to disclose its case and he cannot properly defend his client without having all the information.

He requested that the prosecution provide him with the statement Dr. Sands intends to give and what his testimony is expected to be.

Jenkins conceded that the evidence must be provided to the defense but told the court he would need time to have a new statement done properly.

The matter was adjourned until 10 a.m. Thursday.