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Prosecution witness under more pressure as trial of cops continues

BY PAUL HENRY Crime/court coordinator henryp@jamaicaobserver.com

Wednesday, November 14, 2012    

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THE defence yesterday continued its drubbing of the prosecution's main witness in the trial of three policemen charged with the murder of two men who were abducted from a Corporate Area plaza eight years ago.

In her grilling of the witness, defence attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson raised questions of murder, allegations of theft, and highlighted variations between the man's evidence in court and a statement he gave investigators on May 29, 2009.

Several objections were raised by senior prosecutor Dirk Harrison during the heated examination, especially those relating to the murder of two men — a special constable and a civilian — with whom the witness had crossed paths.

Harrison said that Neita-Robertson was giving the impression that the witness, a former policeman assigned to the Gang Intelligence Unit, was behind the killings.

The lawyer, however, persisted.

Assistant Superintendent Victor Barrett and Corporal Louis Lynch (represented by Neita-Robertson), as well as Constable Paul Edwards are being tried in the Home Circuit Court for the murder of Kemar Walters and Oliver Duncan who were abducted from Washington Plaza in St Andrew on December 23, 2004.

The prosecution is contending that there was a common plot between Edwards and Lynch to murder the men and that Barrett covered up the crime.

Yesterday, the witness grew argumentative, and posed a few question of his own, and had to be admonished by presiding judge

Justice Horace Marsh as his examination intensified.

Neita-Robertson asked the witness if he knew a Special Corporal Mullings, but he said he didn't.

"Weren't you and your sister beaten and taken to the City Centre Police Station by him?" she asked.

But the witness said they weren't beaten and explained that his sister and some members of the Island Special Constable Force got into an argument and that he (the witness) intervened, telling "him I was a police".

"He grabbed me up," the witness said, telling the court that he was taken to the City Centre Police Station and placed in a cell.

He said he couldn't remember if he had reported the incident. Neita-Robertson asked if he knew what happened to Mullings, but the witness said he did not.

"Five weeks after, he (Mullings) was shot and killed by gunmen in [East Kingston]. Don't you know about that?" the lawyer asked.

"I don't know about that," he said before an objection was raised.

Neita-Robertson asked about another person, Devy Thompson, whom the witness said he knew. He, however, denied that he and Thompson had been in an altercation. Asked what became of Thompson, the witness said he "think he's dead".

Again the prosecution had to raise an objection when Neita-Robertson questioned the witness about a Dave McPherson whom he is said to have fatally shot.

Between 1996 and 1998, the witness was stationed at the Mandeville Police Station in Manchester, where he admitted yesterday to being disciplined, along with five other police officers, for stealing prisoners' money and jewellery. He attempted to elaborate, but was cut off by the attorney.

The witness denied that he was investigated for the theft of 63 pairs of shoes from the downtown Kingston offices of the Organised Crime Investigation Division where the Gang Intelligence Unit was based.

Also, the witness agreed that he had left out of his statement to the police some details regarding what he told the court transpired on the plaza when the men were taken away in a car he said Lynch was driving.

He denied that he was beaten to give to then Deputy Commissioner Mark Shield the statement implicating the men, and also said he was not a suspect in the killing of Walters and Duncan. He also denied that he gave the statement to avoid prosecution.

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