News

Judge to decide on lawyer's question in trial of cops

BY PAUL HENRY Crime/court co-ordinator henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, November 08, 2012    

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THE trial of the police officers charged with the murder of two men who were abducted from a plaza in Kingston unexpectedly veered off course yesterday, leaving the court to now decide whether to allow a question under cross-examination that could compromise national security.

Justice Horace Marsh will decide today whether to allow attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson to put a particular question to a prosecution witness, who is a former member of the police's Gang Intelligence Unit.

Neita-Robertson sought to put the question to the witness but senior prosecutor Dirk Harrison objected on the ground that an answer could compromise national security.

But Neita-Robertson countered that the question was critical to the defence of her client Corporal Louis Lynch. The court was adjourned to the afternoon session when legal submissions were made in the absence of jurors.

Louis, Acting Superintendent Vincent Barrett and Constable Paul Edwards are being tried for the December 23, 2004 murder of Kemar Walters and Oliver Duncan, who were abducted from the Washington Plaza on Washington Boulevard in St Andrew.

Evidence was given by the said witness that Edwards told him that he shot Duncan and that Walters was killed, as well after being abducted. He witness testified also that Edwards burnt a Honda CRV, of which Duncan was said to be the owner.

In relation to Barrett, the witness said the assistant superintendent told him not to say anything to anyone about the incident and that he (Barrett) would dictate a statement to him and the men in relation to the day when Walters and Duncan was abducted.

The witness said that on January 10, 2005 he gave the statement that was dictated by Barrett.

The witness said that Barrett told him to write that on December 23, 2004 he was at the downtown Kingston offices of the Organised Crime Investigation Division until after midday when he left with other officers to seize a motor vehicle in the downtown business district.

Earlier yesterday, attorney Deborah Martin, who is representing Edwards, continued her onslaught on the witness' credibility.

The witness had said that Edwards was around when Barrett spoke with him about giving the false statement but Martin said that her client was off the island at the time.

The witness said he couldn't tell if Edwards was overseas. Still, the attorney countered that it was the witness who had picked up Edwards at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston when he arrived in the island. The witness, however, denied this.

The witness also denied a suggestion by Martin that the vehicles, a Toyota Tundra and a Honda, seized by the witness and other police officers, were in fact confiscated on the afternoon of December 23, 2004.

She suggested also that an entry was made about it in the station diary but the witness said he had no knowledge of such an entry.

The witness also denied a suggestion that he had forged the signature of a police constable on an application form for a $100,000- loan on March 19, 2008.

He said he was not aware of any investigations into allegations of fraud against him.

Neita-Robertson, in her cross-examination of the witness, raised allegations that he had stolen money collected in a fund-raiser before he left the force in 2008.

The witness said he had to reimburse a woman in relation to the fund-raiser but that he didn't remember the amount.

He said he was interviewed by a senior police officer in relation to the allegation of theft.

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