Convicted money launderer blames ex-lawyer for conviction

Posted by on Nov 2, 2010 in Local News & Alerts | 0 comments

A CONVICTED money launderer has blamed his ex-lawyer for his conviction by a jury, the Court of Appeal has heard.

The three-judge panel heard on Monday the appeal of Goodwin Davano Spencer, 42, who was sentenced to seven years in jail in 2008.

Defense lawyer Shade Sabir slammed trial judge Chief Justice Richard Ground for allowing evidence linking shady character Trinidadian Wayne Jagoo to her client.

The trial heard of Jagoo’s criminal convictions and of several wire transfers Spencer sent out of the country to him between November 2004 and 2005.

Secondly, Ms Subair said that the Chief Justice erred in law by refusing to give way to her client’s no case submission towards the end of the trial.

Specifically she claimed there was insufficient evidence to establish that the $145,000 Spencer laundered were was the proceeds of criminal conduct.

According to the Cheif Justice at the time, it was obvious Spencer’s dealings were tied to the drug trade even though he was not a direct trafficker.

The jury heard evidence of a boat he purchased that was searched by Police for drugs however nothing was found.

Ms Subair noted that ATM cards linked to the suspicious bank accounts were found at the premises of her client’s Tuff Shoes store on Court Street — but no evidence proved the money transfers were drugs-related.

Possession of the ATM cards alone, she added, was speculative and insufficient to indicate proceeds of crime.

This prompted Court of Appeal president Edward Zacca to comment that the transactions looked “very strange”.

Ms Subair’s third ground of appeal centered around Spencer’s lawyer at the time, Charles Richardson.

Lawyer Charles Richardson

In an affidavit signed by Spencer in October of this year — read out to the panel — he regrets not taking the witness stand in his own defense during the trial.

He claimed to have been under constant pressure by the lawyer to not take the stand or else risk incriminating himself in front of the jury.

The appellant recalled telling Mr. Richardson he had nothing to hide and wanted very much to testify on his own behalf. In private, he claimed they argued about this subject.

As a result, says the affidavit, he felt deprived of justice because he had not been allowed to take the stand.

He also criticized the lawyer for allegedly not being prepared to give his evidence in chief.

Spencer stated he did not realize that the decision to take the stand or not was his alone and not up to his lawyer.

However, Lord Justice Evans questioned if that was truly the case and referred to Spencer’s choosing of words in the statement which said, “If I had elected to take the stand…”

This choice of words, the judge found, indicated the appellant knew the decision was up to him. Ms Subair subsequently withdrew this point.

The Court of Appeal’s decision was suspended until a later time.

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