Did a Cabinet Minister use Frank’s phone?
By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
JUST over 30 calls were made by former PLP Senator Frank Smith’s cell phone to the virtual complainant in his bribery and extortion trial, but during the time the former was in police custody over the allegations.
Evidence led by his attorney Damian Gomez, QC, showed how despite Smith being in custody between July 19 and 21 of last year, some 31 calls were purportedly made from his cell phone to Barbara Hanna’s cell phone.
And almost one-third of those calls were made on July 19, the day he was initially taken into custody.
Six calls were made on July 20 and another 14 on July 21, 2017. Smith was released that evening.
There was no mention of a cell phone on Smith’s official detention record while he was in police custody. Only a “black belt” was identified under the section that read “other property.” Nothing was recorded under the “property” section of the form, according to Mr Gomez.
Additionally, a perusal of Smith’s call logs and the BTC phone bill of Mrs Hanna revealed that while the call logs purported to show a number of outgoing calls from Smith’s cell phone to Mrs Hanna, it was the other way around.
Conversely, Mrs Hanna’s phone bill showed that on numerous occasions dating back to January 2017, a number of outgoing calls were made from her phone number to Smith’s cell phone number.
Additionally, Mr Gomez noted that despite an officer’s report that claimed a phone call was made from a landline connected to Smith’s lending company, Pouland Limited, to Mrs Hanna’s cell number, there was no record of that call in the phone bill information concerning either number.
Mr Gomez said based on Mrs Hanna’s BTC phone bill, a total of 64 calls were made between the two, as opposed to the 106 purported to have been made in a police officer’s report.
And according to Mrs Hanna’s bill, she initiated some 59 phone calls to Mr Smith, as opposed to the five times he called her.
The information was revealed as Police Corporal Quarry Adderley took the stand.
According to Cpl Adderley, he was responsible for analysing the particulars of a call log concerning Smith’s cell phone number.
He said he was instructed to do so by an officer senior to him, Superintendent Johnson. He said he received the disc with the call logs from Supt Johnson on July 25, 2017 at 2pm.
After having done so, Cpl Adderley completed a report of his findings, dated August 3, 2017.
However, it was shown in court how the spreadsheet concerning both Smith’s and Mrs Hanna’s call logs were modified on August 4, 2017 at 1.18pm.
Cpl Adderley, when interrogated, said he did not modify the calls logs in question, and said he was surprised when he was informed of that fact, as he hadn’t noticed it before.
Prior to that, Mr Gomez walked Cpl Adderley through the contents of Smith’s call log, from as far back as January 8, 2017 to July 18 of that year.
And on various dates during that time period, the call log maintained a number of outgoing calls to Mrs Hanna’s cell phone number from that of Smith’s.
When Mr Gomez questioned Cpl Adderley if he would be surprised if Mrs Hanna’s BTC billing information showed that her cell phone was the originator of the phone calls between the two, the officer said “yes”.
After a short adjournment, Mr Gomez then walked Cpl Adderley through the contents of Mrs Hanna’s phone bill, which showed that from various dates from January 8, 2017, Mrs Hanna’s cell phone initiated the calls between the two.
In one instance, on July 18, 2017, the cell phone number attributed to Mrs Hanna made a call to a landline said to be associated with Smith’s lending company.
Upon reaching the dates of July 19, 20, and 21, 2017, Mr Gomez tallied up the number of times Smith’s call log said outgoing calls were made from his phone to Mrs Hanna, resulting in 11, six and 14 respectively.
Mr Gomez then asked Cpl Adderley if he was present when Smith was arrested, to which the officer said no.
Mr Gomez then asked Cpl Adderley if it was normal procedure for police to fill out a detention record for a person being detained at a police station, to which the officer said yes.
Cpl Adderley also confirmed that it is normal police practice to make a note of whatever items an individual has in their possession upon their arrest.
However, the officer said it is not police practice to allow detainees to keep cell phones while being held in the cell.
When asked by Mr Gomez if he would be surprised if Smith was the one who made those 31 calls during July 19-21, 2017, while he was under arrest, Cpl Adderley said “yes”.
Cpl Adderley, based on the information contained in Mrs Hanna’s billing information, also agreed that there is a discrepancy between the call logs analysed and her phone statements.
Cpl Adderley also agreed with Mr Gomez’s suggestion that had he had sight of Mrs Hanna’s phone bill summary during the time he was analysing the call logs, he would have been prompted to ask further questions.
The officer also accepted that if he was privy to that information, his results would be fundamentally different.
Smith is facing 15 criminal charges concerning his alleged solicitation of $65,000 in bribes from a woman he is said to have assisted in getting a contract from the Public Hospitals Authority. He is currently out on $50,000 bail.
Smith pleaded not guilty to all the allegations during his arraignment last July.