Leading member of the newly formed anti gay group Jamaica CAUSE who had the June 29 rally, Pastor of Fellowship Tabernacle and a strong proponent of restorative therapy Rev Al Miller is on trial for aiding a fugitive. Sadly this is the voice that has been at it for over a decade trying to block LGBT rights of any sort even at the Charter of Rights level where he and Lawyers' Christian Fellowship founder Shirley Richards got removed the only small protection from discrimination due to sexual orientation in the 1999 draft when JFLAG made their parliamentary submission, sadly the J did not adjust their call from a full repeal of buggery to decriminalization so we have had to live with the grief all these years hence the strong opposition since.
Det Sgt Winston Radcliffe gave evidence that at one point in the chase, his police service vehicle was travelling at 130mph, but still could not keep pace with the popular pastor's "heavily tinted" sport utility vehicle (SUV) with Coke on-board.
Radcliffe said when police finally used their vehicle to force the SUV to stop on the soft shoulder along Mandela Highway and ordered the occupants out, Dudus emerged wearing a black and green peak cap, clear eyeglasses and a black curly wig.
The evidence came as Miller's long-delayed trial for attempting to pervert the course of justice got under way in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate's Court.
Miller, through his attorneys, has insisted that the police were, at all times, aware that he was taking Coke to surrender to authorities.
Radcliffe's testimony provided a behind-the-scenes look into how the islandwide manhunt ended for the former Tivoli Gardens strongman and convicted drug kingpin, who is now serving a 23-year prison sentence in the United States.
The police sergeant told the court that on June 22, 2010, he got information that led him and a team of three constables to position their police car near the entrance to the Bog Walk gorge in St Catherine. He said a short time later, Miller's RAV4 exited the gorge travelling with a Subaru Impreza motor car.
Radcliffe said his team began trailing the two vehicles before requesting assistance from police control and other units that were in the Spanish Town area at the time.
He testified that another police vehicle, which joined the trail after he requested assistance, was used to block the path of the Subaru, while his vehicle was positioned "about one car length" behind the RAV4, bringing both vehicles to a halt.
"The RAV4 SUV pulled out from behind the Impreza and continued towards the [Highway 2000] toll road. I activated the emergency equipment [the flashing lights] on my vehicle and gave chase," said Radcliffe, as Clerk of the Courts Larona Montague-Williams led him through his evidence.
He said he caught up with the SUV a short time later and used his police vehicle to block its path, forcing the driver to stop.
"Myself and my team alighted from our vehicle and moved towards the RAV4 when I observed the front driver window rolled down and the driver identified himself as 'Al Miller'," the sergeant testified.
He said Miller then rolled the window back up, "pulled away from the service vehicle, drove past it, and headed to the toll plaza".
"We drove on to the highway eastbound towards Kingston in an effort to catch up with the RAV4 that was travelling at a very high speed," the sergeant said, noting that his vehicle was travelling at 130mph, but was still about half a mile behind the SUV.
However, Miller's lead attorney, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, challenged this claim, suggesting to Radcliffe that there was no second stop.
While conceding that he did not record the second stop in his notebook, the police sergeant insisted that it took place, triggering an exchange with the attorney.
"You know the importance of preserving your notebook for the purpose of a trial, right?" Samuels-Brown questioned.
"I don't know about preserving it for trial. I know about having them for reference," the sergeant responded.
"Where is that notebook?" the defence attorney pressed.
"I have absolutely no idea," the policeman responded.
He testified that a team from the St Catherine South Police, which was part of the chase, later used their vehicle to force the SUV to a stop on the soft shoulder near the "cane cart crossing" along Mandela Highway.
Radcliffe said Coke was handcuffed and placed in a police car, while Miller remained in the driver's seat of the SUV.
The sergeant said he approached Miller and asked why he did not stop when he was signalled to and the clergyman told him "he was taking Coke to the US Embassy as officers were there waiting for him".
The trial continues today.
UPDATE July 26 2014
LAWYERS FOR THE Reverend Merrick 'Al' Miller yesterday questioned a retired police superintendent about a public plea the popular pastor made to then fugitive Christopher 'Dudus' Coke to turn himself in on the condition that he had the "commitment of the authorities" that they would ensure his safety.
The questions by Miller's lead attorney, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, were in reference to a public letter the clergyman wrote in June 2010, which was published by this newspaper during the time of the islandwide manhunt for the former Tivoli Gardens strongman and convicted drug kingpin.
"Are you aware that there was an open letter published in one of our national newspapers in which Reverend Miller wrote 'be assured that I and others will do everything to ensure your safety and we have the commitment of the authorities'?" Samuels-Brown asked retired Superintendent Wrenford Robinson during cross-examination.
"I did not see that appeal," Robinson replied.
Coke was found in Miller's sport utility vehicle along Mandela Highway in St Catherine on June 22, 2010, but the popular pastor has maintained that the police top brass were, at all times, aware that he was taking him to surrender to authorities.
Robinson is the third witness to give evidence in Miller's trial for attempting to pervert the course of justice, which got under way in the Corporate Area Resident Magistrate Court on Thursday. The trial has been adjourned until September 10.