Frank Smith accuser fumbles in explaining discrepancies
The star witness in the prosecution of former Progressive Liberal Party Senator Frank Smith fumbled to explain discrepancies in her testimony during cross-examination on Tuesday.
Cleaning company owner Barbara Hanna became defensive as Smith’s lawyer, Keith Knight, QC, pointed to inconsistencies and accused her of lying, as she refused to answer questions that she considered “irrelevant”.
Hanna, whose company, Magic Touch Cleaning, won the $500,000 contract to clean the Critical Care Block of Princess Margaret Hospital back in 2016 when Smith chaired the Public Hospitals Authority (PHA), has alleged that she paid $5,000 monthly payments to Smith for his part in helping her get the job.
Smith dismissed Hanna’s accusations as a ‘recitation’. He asserted, “[For] every aspect you can be challenged on, you lie.”
Her voice trembling, Hanna said, “God knows the truth. He will reveal it all.”
Smith has denied charges of bribery and extortion at his trial before Chief Magistrate Joyann Ferguson-Pratt.
Knight reminded Hanna of previous denials of co-signing a loan with her son and FINCO suing her and her husband over a mortgage. When Hanna testified on November 30, 2017, she denied knowing Edgar Hanna. But yesterday when Knight asked her how long she had known him, she replied, “That’s my husband, sir. I should know him for many years.”
Knight continued, “How long is that?”
Hanna said, “Over 20 years.”
Knight continued, “Remember when I asked you about Edgar Hanna, you said you could not remember who he was?”
“I’m putting it to you, you’re not a straightforward person. You lie when you want to and mislead when you want.”
Hanna replied, “I’m not going to speak to something that I’m not clear on.”
Knight repeated, “You’re not a truthful person.”
Hanna said, “I am. God will reveal the truth. The truth will be revealed in this court. I decreed and declared to speak the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Edgar has nothing to do with the $5,000. The mortgage has no bearing with the $5,000.
“I gave Mr. Smith $5,000 every time I paid the loan for my son. I gave him $5,000 in cash. The bad part about it is that he didn’t sign, and I do not have a paper trail.”
Knight also reminded Hanna that he refuted getting a loan with her son, Adrian, from Smith’s lending company, Pouland Limited. He asked, “You said you never did any loan with Adrian. You said when Adrian Hanna gets a loan, he always gets a loan on his own. When you said that, was it true?” Hanna replied, “It’s true.”
Knight then showed her a loan document. Knight asked, “Do you see on that form, ‘We have granted a loan’ to the above individuals?” Hanna said that she had.
Knight continued, “And those two individuals are Barbara Hanna and Adrian Hanna, do you agree?” Hanna replied, “Yes.”
Knight pressed, “Do you see your signature, accepting and agreeing to a loan that was granted to yourself and Adrian?”
Hanna said, “Correct. Yes.”
Knight reminded Hanna of her previous evidence in which she denied signing the documents.
Hanna said, “It is true I signed the document, but I will explain that later. I knew it was a loan for Adrian.”
Knight then showed Hanna another document between herself and Pouland and asked if she recognized the names.
At that point, Hanna claimed that name was not “clear enough to recognize”.
Knight asked, “You don’t recognize the name Adrian Hanna?”
She replied, “No”
Hanna later claimed that Adrian’s signature differed on various documents, which was why she refused to commit to the identification.
Hanna explained that at the time of the June 6 loan, her son had resigned from the PHA and was therefore unable to get salary deductions. Hanna said that she co-signed the loan on the advice of Smith to guarantee that the money would be paid.
However, when Knight asked Hanna if she would be surprised to learn that Adrian was still employed with the PHA in December 2016, Hanna said that she was unaware of the details of his employment because he did not live with her.
The trial continues today.
Edward Jenkins, QC; Anthony Delaney and Al-leecia Delancy appear for the Crown.