Witness problems again stall cops' murder trial
THE trial of the three police officers charged with the murder of two men abducted from a plaza in St Andrew was for a second consecutive day, yesterday, adjourned early because of problems the prosecution has with its witnesses.
Yesterday's development solicited a stern warning from Justice Horace Marsh, who is presiding over the trial in the Home Circuit Court.
"This thing happened yesterday," Marsh said, referring to Wednesday's early adjournment, "and it happened again; I'm not minded for it to happen a third time."
However, Crown Counsel Kerri-Ann Kemble told the court that all would be in place to prevent a similar occurrence.
On Wednesday, the trial of Assistant Superintendent Vincent Barrett and corporals Paul Edwards and Louis Lynch was forced into an early adjournment as the witnesses scheduled for the afternoon session of the proceedings did not turn up for court.
Yesterday, in asking for another adjournment shortly before the 1 o'clock lunch break, Kemble told the court — after calling four witnesses — that one of her scheduled witnesses was in the west end of the island and the other was dead.
Kemble said she was only informed in the morning that the witness was "no longer with us".
Kemar Walters and Oliver Duncan were abducted from the Washington Plaza along Washington Boulevard on December 23, 2004.
A blue Honda CRV, in which the men were seen before their abduction, was found two days later burnt out in an abandoned building off the Port Royal main road.
The prosecution said during the opening of the trial on Tuesday that it would provide evidence to show that there was a common plot to murder the men and that they were abducted by Edwards and Lynch. Barrett, the prosecution is alleging, covered up the crime.
Yesterday, Deputy Superintendent Leonard Parsons, who is a serial number restoration expert, testified that the chassis number on the burnt-out CRV had been tampered with.
He said under cross-examination by defence attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson that tampering with chassis numbers is illegal, and is usually done to hide the identity of stolen vehicles.