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Prosecution witnesses lied for money, says defence witness

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

Friday, October 19, 2012    

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A defence witness testified yesterday that two of the prosecution’s main witnesses had concocted their evidence against Constable Rushon Hamilton in return for a promised $150,000 from the family of the 14-year-old girl Hamilton is accused of murdering.

The witness was the last to be called by the defence, which closed its case shortly thereafter, making way for lead attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson’s address in which she urged the 12 jurors to use their logic in coming to a decision.

“I’m 100 per cent sure that if you use your logic you will find Rushon Hamilton not guilty,” said Neita-Robertson, who will continue addressing jurors today.

With this last witness, the defence is hoping to drive home for the jurors what it has been asserting all along: That Hamilton was being set up.

The prosecution witnesses who were yesterday accused of concocting their story are the man (Witness A) — who testified previously that Hamilton had confessed to him of taking Jhaneel Goulbourne out to sea and murdering her — and the other (Witness B) who gave evidence that Hamilton told him that he was going to “tek weh” Goulbourne.

Goulbourne was abducted from the gate of her Harbour View home on October 24, 2008, after filing a report that led to Hamilton being charged with carnal abuse. She has not been seen since.

The defence witness, whose name is also being withheld by the Jamaica Observer on the court’s request, testified yesterday that he was led by his conscience to tell what he knew about the matter after giving his life to Christ in January 2010, and is now a changed man.

He said that he met Witness A at the Horizon Remand Centre late 2008 to early 2009, and that they eventually shared a cell for about two weeks.

He testified that one day a man he later learnt was Hamilton, was trying to get onto the cellblock where Witness A was held. According to him, Witness A told him not to allow the man entrance. He said he asked Witness A what was his problem with Hamilton.

“Him tell me he’s a cop. He said the same cop kidnapped and raped a girl he’s related to. He was saying that the mother of that girl is his friend,” the witness told the court.

The witness said that Witness A subsequently introduced him to Witness B over the phone and that the three spoke often.

He said in his examinationin-chief, which was led by attorney Peter Champagnie, that one day Witness A told him that Witness B was from Harbour View and that they were “going to plot a story against the cop”.

“You know what the story was going to be about?” Champagnie asked.

“Not at the time,” the witness said.

He said both men subsequently told him what they were going to do.

“[Witness A] told me that he’s going to testify on the cop. I asked him if what he was going to say is true and he said, ‘No, but he’s a cop’...,” said the defence witness. “He said that [Witness B] is going to tell the police on the outside that the cop asked his assistance to dispose of the girl’s body.”

He said Witness A immediately called Witness B, who confirmed the plot to him, and told him that he would be getting $150,000 from Goulbourne’s family as payment for the story they would tell against Hamilton.

Asked by Champagnie how he came to be a witness in this case, the man explained to the court that he was listening to a news item on Nationwide Radio on the first of this month when he heard Hamilton’s name and those of witnesses A and B being mentioned.

He said he contacted Champagnie the following day and gave him “a true statement”.

He said he was not made any promises in return for his evidence, nor was he threatened.

He was challenged by senior prosecutor Lisa Palmer-Hamilton but denied a suggestion that he was otherwise influenced to come forward and assist Hamilton.

He also denied a suggestion that he was not being truthful about the conversation regarding the alleged plot.

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