Star witness to take the stand again in former senator extortion trial

Star witness to take the stand again in former senator extortion trial
Former senator Frank Smith surrounded by family and legal team outside court.

The extortion trial of former Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Senator and Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Chairman Frank Smith will continue this morning at 10:00 a.m., with the much anticipated cross examination of Barbara Hanna, owner of Magic Touch Cleaning Company.

Hanna was originally set to take the stand Thursday, however, the prosecution said it was not prepared and asked for a continuance in order to finish combing through call logs pertaining to the case.

Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt maintained the urgency for the crown and the defense to expedite the matter, after several delays.

Hanna’s day on the stand comes following the conclusion of testimony given by former Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) investigator, Gary Smith.

Smith spent part of this week testifying about telephone records between the former PHA chairman and Hanna, in November and December 2017.

The investigator was asked if the telephone records were manipulated, however, he maintained that “the original telephone records – the hard copies – were never tampered with”.

The defense contends that there is no correlation between the former senator and Hanna’s telephone bill coinciding with Hanna’s payments to the former chairman.

It is alleged that Smith, while serving as PHA’s chairman, extorted $60,000 from Hanna, who was awarded a cleaning contract for the Critical Care Block in the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).