I am innocent, cop tells jurors
CONSTABLE Rushon Hamilton yesterday denied allegations that he abducted and murdered 14-year-old Jhaneel Goulbourne, telling jurors in a 40-minute-long unsworn statement that he was being set up.
Hamilton started his statement around 12:15 from the prisoner’s dock to a hushed number one courtroom in the Home Circuit Court and repeatedly professed his innocence.
He started by explaining to jurors that he was not taking the witness box because he had some things to say and wouldn’t want to be interrupted.
By not taking the witness stand, Hamilton avoided the possibility of being cross-examined.
“I’ve waited four weary, long years for this moment. Sometimes I try to exercise my patience as much as I could and at times anxiety gets the better of me,” Hamilton said.
“Mr foreman and your members,” Hamilton said, looking directly at the jurors. “I am innocent.”
“I would not and could not do something like this. I know that if anything should happen to Jhaneel Goulbourne, I would be the main person of interest,” he added.
As Hamilton made his statement, Goulbourne’s two sisters sat crying, one rocking back and forth with a hand to her mouth. At one point, one of the sisters rested her head on the armrest of the bench and looked at Hamilton in apparent disbelief.
Hamilton, who was assigned to the Elletson Road Police Station in East Kingston, has been on trial for the past three weeks for the murder of Goulbourne, who was abducted by men in a bus from in front her Harbour View, St Andrew home on October 24, 2008.
Goulbourne was abducted following the filing of a complaint that led to Hamilton being charged with carnal abuse.
A witness testified during the trial that Hamilton told him that he would “tek weh” the girl and that the constable had called asking him to find out when Goulbourne would be leaving her home. Another witness also testified that Hamilton confessed to him in a jail cell about killing Goulbourne at sea and dumping her body.
The court also heard last week that Hamilton had gone to his home parish of St Mary where he asked a man to help him find a place to dump a body.
But yesterday, Hamilton said that he “could never dream in a million years of hurting anyone”.
“I’m a police officer. How could I do something like this? I, too, am a father and I, too, have a daughter. This is absolutely not true,” he said.
Hamilton denied having sex with the teen and instead accused a former colleague of having an affair with Goulbourne. He said also that it was that colleague who had used his phone to call the witness to find out about Goulbourne.
Early into his statement, Hamilton called the prosecution witnesses liars and rebuked them for swearing on the Bible and telling lies on him.
Superintendent Alden Davis was the detective who opened the probe into allegations against Hamilton. Yesterday, Hamilton said that Davis hated him and had conspired against him. The reason, Hamilton told the jurors, was Davis’ falling out with his (Hamilton’s) father.
“Mr foreman and your members, I did not know that Mr Davis hated me that much, that he would have gone to the extent to plot against me with persons who are trying to save their own skin...,” said Hamilton, who noted that he had co-operated fully with investigators.
As it relates to evidence that he confessed to killing Goulbourne, Hamilton asked: “What kind of idiot would I be if I had done something like this, as a sensible person, to be confessing to persons that are locked up, having been warned by my lawyers then?”
Hamilton said he doesn’t own a boat and doesn’t know anyone who does. He also said that he does not know of any place where boats are rented.
The prosecution closed its case yesterday afternoon after being unable to locate ex-constable Michael McDonald to give evidence.
The trial continues today.