News

Witness disturbed by cop's info about underage girl

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

Friday, October 05, 2012    

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THE prosecution witness who testified on Wednesday that Constable Rushton Hamilton confessed to him of killing a 14-year-old girl, yesterday continued his damning evidence against the policeman.

The witness told jurors yesterday that Hamilton told him in early 2009, while both men were inmates at the Horizon Remand Centre in Kingston, that he wasn't worried that the police would find evidence of the teen's murder at his house as his girlfriend had washed the clothes he wore when he kidnapped and killed Jhaneel Goulbourne in October 2008.

The witness said he was told this by Hamilton after the Assistant Commissioner of Police Mark Shields and other senior police personnel visited the remand centre as part of their probe into the girl's disappearance.

"Hamilton said he has a good girl because ah she washed out him clothes when him did kill the pickney and all dem ah pressure har she nah chat; and some bwoy a police, and them cyaan (can't) hold pressure," the witness testified.

He testified that Hamilton told him he was worried about a former cellmate at Central, who was also a policeman. "Him say him no worry 'bout White, but Cudjo caan hold him mouth," the witness told the court.

Hamilton, he testified, told him that he would request the statement against him and that he would attend the funeral of anyone, police or civilian, who was co-operating with the police against him.

The witness said although he gave a statement to Shields, he told Hamilton that he did not speak with the senior cop when he visited the remand centre. He added that he gave the statement because he was disturbed when Hamilton told him what he did to the teen.

The witness admitted during his examination-in-chief earlier that he is currently facing charges, including conspiracy to murder and illegal possession of firearm. He, however, said that he had not been made any promises of favourable treatment regarding his case in return for his evidence.

The witness came under tough cross-examination from attorney Peter Champagnie who put several suggestions to the witness, including that he lied on the stand when he testified that the cop confessed to him of killing the girl.

"I'm suggesting to you that Hamilton made no confession to you at all," Champagnie said.

"Your suggestion is wrong," the witness responded.

At one point Champagnie suggested to the witness that he was "an opportunist who wanted to bargain" his way out of his legal troubles. The witness denied the suggestion.

Champagnie suggested to the witness that he told a cellmate at the Horizon Remand Centre that he did not like Hamilton. The witness also denied this suggestion.

But Champagnie stayed at it, suggesting the witness told the cellmate that he did not like Hamilton because the policeman had "troubled a little girl" whose mother he used to be with.

"No," the witness said.

The witness also denied a suggestion that he and another witness who testified in the trial previously had conspired to lie on Hamilton.

Goulbourne was kidnapped while at her gate in Harbour View, St Andrew. Her body has not been found. The teen's kidnapping follows her filing of a complaint that led to Hamilton being charged with carnal abuse.

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