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Magistrate DaBreo to render ‘Letty’ decision on May 27

Even as Lucien Smith has been freed following a successful no-case submission on his behalf, the other party who was on trial for conspiracy to allegedly import cocaine, Violet ‘Letty' Hodge (above), will have to wait until May 27, 2015 to know her fate. Photo: VINO/File
During the wrapping up of witness testimony yesterday April 16, 2015, defence attorney on behalf of Mrs Hodge, Julian Knowles QC said that some of the witnesses who would have testified via video link earlier this week could have possibly been motivated by a need to “cut better deals” with the US law enforcement authorities. Photo: VINO/File
During the wrapping up of witness testimony yesterday April 16, 2015, defence attorney on behalf of Mrs Hodge, Julian Knowles QC said that some of the witnesses who would have testified via video link earlier this week could have possibly been motivated by a need to “cut better deals” with the US law enforcement authorities. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Even as Lucien Smith has been freed following a successful no case submission on his behalf, the other party who was on trial for conspiracy to allegedly import cocaine, Violet ‘Letty' Hodge, will have to wait until May 27, 2015 to know her fate.

This is the date announced by Magistrate Ayana Baptiste-DaBreo for when she is to return to render her decision.

During the wrapping up of witness testimony yesterday April 16, 2015, defence attorney on behalf of Mrs Hodge, Julian Knowles QC said that some of the witnesses who would have testified via video link earlier this week could have possibly been motivated by a need to “cut better deals” with the US law enforcement authorities.

Under cross-examination by Principal Crown Counsel Tiffany R. Scatliffe, Mrs Hodge denied using her knowledge of business to engage in cocaine dealings. She also denied using her fluency in Spanish to help her husband Earl ‘Bob’ Hodge negotiate drug deals. Further, she denied any knowledge of her husband being involved in the drug trade.

Scatliffe suggested to Mrs Hodge that she deliberately left her property in Frenchman’s Cay in an unkempt state so that she (Mrs Hodge) could store illegal items there. However, Mrs Hodge denied this, saying that the place was not secured and persons accessed the house without her permission as she had found evidence of this, including used condoms and signs that the bathroom had been used.

Mrs Hodge explained that following the death of a grandchild, she moved out from the Frenchman’s Cay residence and thereafter used it as a place to store her items, including equipment and appliances from her restaurant business which had closed down. She said because she used the property as a storage facility she saw no need to expend efforts to clean it up.

Under questioning from Knowles, Mrs Hodge denied knowledge of the gun and ammunition allegedly found in the Frenchman’s Cay home.

Further she said that contrary to evidence offered by Roberto Mendez Hurtado on Tuesday April 14, 2015, she had never acted as a translator or interpreter for her husband.

Asked to respond as to why Hurtado and the other witnesses such as James ‘Jimmy Juice’ Springette would give evidence against her, she said that their testimony are nothing but lies.

Closing statements from the prosecution are due on April 23, 2015 while the defence’s closing statements are due on April 30, 2015.

See earlier story here: 

http://www.virginislandsnewsonline.com/en/news/update-crowns-key-drug-witness-gives-shaky-testimony

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