Coke v The Superintendent of Prisons; Morrison v Superintendent of prisons
Langrin, J.; Clarke, J.; Cooke, J.
Bertram Macaulay Q.C. and George Soutar instructed by T. Tavares-Finson for applicant.
E.H. Onnis and Miss D. Little for the respondent and Intervener.
Miss C. Reid of the Department of Public Prosecutions as amicus curiae.
Extradition - Habeas corpus — Applicants charged with racketeering — Extradition sought by United States of America — Whether the documents regarding the extradition request were certified by an officer of the United States of America — Whether the documents were authenticated “by being sealed with the official seal of the Minister of Justice or some other Minister of State” — Extradition Act, 1870 s.10, 14, 15 — Application refused.
On the 19 th April, 1991 at the conclusion of the hearing of applications for Habeas Corpus of Lester Coke, counsel representing Richard Morrison adopted the arguments advanced on behalf of Lester Coke.
We dismissed both applications with costs to the respondents and promised to put our reasons in writing. This we now do.
These are applications for orders of Habeas Corpus to secure the release of Lester Coke and Richard Morrison from the General Penitentiary, Kingstown where they were placed in custody by order of warrants dated 19 th February, 1991.
The extradition of the applicants was requested by the Government of the United States of America.
The allegations are that on September 8 th, 1985 Lester Coke one of the leaders of a racketeering enterprise commonly known as the shower posses was indicted along with Richard Morrison and others by a Federal Grand Jury in the Southern District of Florida. The indictment charged Lester Coke with four violations of law, three of which are the subject for the request of extradition. These three violations are all offences committed in connection with trafficking in dangerous drugs and murder, count 1 of the indictment charges Lester Coke, Richard Morrison and others with conspiracy to distribute and to possess with intent to distribute cocaine and marijuana.
Count 3 of the indictment charges Lester Coke, Richard Morrison and others with conspiracy to conduct and participate in the conduct affairs of an enterprises through a pattern of racketeering involving among other things:–
(a) Conspiracy to distribute cocaine and marijuana as well as
(b) Murder of 5 persons and attempted murder of another person
Count 4 of the indictment charges Lester Coke and Richard Morrison with the substantive violation of the charges contained in count 3.
To justify the committal of the fugitive the respondents relied upon evidence contained in a bundle comprised of statements, affidavits, warrants of arrest, indictments inter alia tied together by red ribbon emanating from beneath the seals to which they are attached.
The first document bears an indictment as follows:
“I certify that the document hereunto annexed is under the seal of the Department of Justice at the United States of America, and that such seal is entitled to full faith and credit.”
In the testimony whereof, I, James A. Baker III, secretary of state have hereunto caused the seal of the Department of state to be affixed and my name subscribed by the Authentication officer of the said department, at the city of Washington, in the District Columbia, this Nineteenth day of June 1990.
James A. Baker III
Secretary of State.
By Annie R. Maddis
Department of State
This document bears the seal of the Department of State while the document immediately below in the bundle bears the seal of the Department of Justice and is signed by the Attorney General, Dick Thornburgh and dated June 18 th, 1990 certifying that Rex Young whose name is signed to the accompanying paper in duly commissioned and qualified to certify that the attached documents are prepared in support of the request for extradition.
The document following Rex Young's, certificate is the original affidavit of Andrew J. Reich, Assistant United States Attorney. Further, attached to Reich's affidavit are a number of exhibits including true and accurate copies of indictments, warrants, of arrest and united States Code applicable to the alleged offence committed by Lester Cokes and Richard Morrison. The original affidavits of Cecil Connor, Ronald Jones, Eduardo Roque, Dr. Valerie J. Rao, Barrington Anderson were attached as exhibits to Reich's affidavit.
It is significant to observe that except for the first two years of the bundle which bears the seal of the Secretary of State on the first page and the seal of the Minister of Justice on the second none of the accompanying documents including the affidavits physically bears the seal of the Minister of State. Neither is there a certificate by Rex Young appended to every single document.
The matter is governed by the following sections of the Extradition Act 1870.
“In the case of a fugitive criminal accused of an extradition crime, if the foreign warrant authorizing the arrest of such criminal is duly authenticated and such evidence is produced as (subject to the provision of this act) would, according to the trial of Jamaica, justify the committal for trial of the prisoner if the crime of which he is accused had been committed in Jamaica the police magistrate shall commit him to prison, but otherwise shall order him to be discharged ….”
Section 14 -
“Depositions or statements on oath, taken in a foreign state and copies of such original depositions or statements, and foreign certificates of or judicial documents stating the fact of conviction, may if duly authenticated, be received in evidence in proceedings under this act.
Section 15 -
“Foreign warrants and depositions or statements on oath, and copies thereof, and certificates of or judicial documents stating the fact of a conviction, shall be deemed duly authenticated for the purposes of this act if authenticated in manner provided for the time being by law or authenticated as follows:–
(1) If the warrant purports to be signed by a judge, magistrate, or officer of the foreign state where the same was issued;
(2) If the depositions or statements or the copies thereof purport to be certified under the hand of a judge, magistrate, or officer of the foreign state where the same were taken to be the original depositions or statements, or to be true copies thereof, as the case may require; and
(3) If the certificate of or judicial document stating the fact of conviction purports to be certified by a judge, magistrate, or officer of the foreign state where the conviction took place; and
If in every case the warrants, depositions statements, copies, certificates, and judicial documents (as the case may be) are authenticated by the oath of some official seal of the minister of justice, or some other minister of state. And all courts of justice judicial notice of such official seal, and shall admit the documents are authenticated by it to be received in evidence without further proof.”
The following questions therefore arise for determination by the court: Where the abovementioned documents:–
(1) Certified by an officer of the Foreign State
(2) Authenticated “by being sealed with the official seal of the
Minister of Justice or name other Minister of State.”
A document appears at the second page of the bundle which has a red ribbon going through and tying the rest of the documents together. A seal of the Minister of Justice is affixed on this document.
The material part of the document reads as follows:
“I certify that Rex Young whose name is signed to the accompanying paper, is now, and was at the time of signing the same Deputy Director Office of International Affairs, Criminal Division, United States Department of the State, Washington D.C. duly commissioned and qualified.
In witness whereof, I, Dick Thornburgh Attorney General of the United States, having hereunto caused the seal of the Department of Justice to be affixed and my name to be attested by the Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Administration of the said Department on the day and year first above written.
Sgd. Dick Thornburgh
by Stephen E. Colgate
Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Administration.”
The following document bearing the seal of the Minister of Justice is a certification by Rex L. Young that he has attached in support of the request for the extradition of Lester Coke the original affidavit of Assistant United States Attorney, Andrew J. Reich. Rex Young further certifies that attached to and included as part of Reich's affidavit are a number of exhibits.
Among these exhibits is Exhibit R. which is described by Rex Young as the original affidavit of Cecil Connor sworn to on March 30 th, 1990 before a duly...
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