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    September 27

  • 12:59 PM

Dudus Coke flown to US

rhondathompson, rhondathompson@nationnews.com

Added 24 June 2010

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CHRISTOPHER “DUDUS” COKE was today whisked out of Jamaica heading for the United States hours after he waived his right to an extradition hearing.Coke was taken by heavily-armed security personnel to the Norman Manley International Airport and placed in the custody of United States Marshals who were waiting to escort him on an unmarked aircraft to the United States.The departure of the man who was, up to a month ago, considered to be the most feared person in Jamaica, brought an anti-climatic end to the furore that accompanied the extradition request from the United States in the summer of 2009.Minutes after Dudus signed the consent documents, waiving his rights  to challenge his extradition, he was hit with a restraining order, freezing all his assets.There was nothing defiant about Dudus’ demeanour throughout the course of the day’s unusual proceedings.“I have instructed my attorneys that I intend to waive my right to an extradition hearing in Jamaica and to proceed directly to the United States under the terms of the extradition laws and treaty between Jamaica and the United States of America,” Dudus’ attorney George Soutar said in a statement to the court.Later, Coke assured a probing Resident Magistrate Georgianna Frazer that he had in fact waived his rights.After eluding the police for nearly a month, the dragnet descended on Coke in less than spectacular fashion than the deadly battle that triggered a state of emergency.The excitement and drama that challenged the attempts of security personnel to apprehend Coke last month, was absent yesterday, although the members of the armed forces took no chances.Gone were the bravado of Tivoli Gardens residents who demonstrated in support of Coke before barricading themselves into the community.Vigilant police and soldiers searched vehicles on Industrial Terrace in the community during a consistent drizzle, as the time drew near for Coke to make his appearance in court.The sound of a JDF helicopter droned on and on as it hovered about while on the ground, police and soldiers plastered the area around Up Park Camp and Mobile Reserves.Dudus seemed calm, composed and oblivious to the excitement around him as he entered the court surrounded by a battery of security personnel but minus his attorneys, minutes before the scheduled start of the 10 o’clock court session.Attired in blue striped shirt, the men around him towering over him, Dudus glanced around, before briefly nodding in seemingly pleasant acknowledgement to curious members of the media.Director of Public Prosecution Paula Llewelyn told Resident Magistrate Georgianna Frazer who presided over the hearing that Coke’s attorney had not yet reached court.Frazer inquired of Coke who was his attorney to which Coke politely responded, “George Soutar”.As if on cue, Soutar entered the room with Tom Tavares Finson another attorney in tow.Soutar announced that Dudus had expressed a desire to waive his right to a local court hearing, before reading from a prepared text he said was statement from Coke.The attorney told the court that Coke said he had made the decision of his own free will and had done so although he was of the view that his case would have been successfully argued in the courts of Jamaica.“I take this decision for I now believe it to be in the best interest of my family, the community of western Kingston and in particular the people of Tivoli gardens and above all, Jamaica,” declared the statement.The statement acknowledged that the entire country had been adversely affected by the process that has surrounded his extradition.He said he hoped that his action today would in some way go towards healing all who have suffered and benefit the community of Tivoli GardensLater, another of Coke’s lawyers, Tom Tavares Finson expressed appreciation on Coke’s behalf for the professional treatment that was meted out to him since had been in custody.Tavares-Finson’s comment that even the court was being fair and professional to Coke, elicited a brief smile from the Resident Magistrate who pointedly expressed hope that the sentiment would be extended to the leadership of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, the Jamaica Defence Force and the wider populace.  (Jamaica Gleaner)

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