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Witness statement: Cop went in search of place to dump body

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

Saturday, October 13, 2012    

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THE Home Circuit Court heard yesterday that Rushon Hamilton — the policeman charged with the October 2008 murder of 14-year-old Jhaneel Goulbourne — went in search of a location to dump a body.

The court was told that Hamilton's search took him to his home parish of St Mary where he was introduced by his brother to an acquaintance, Kemar Johnson, whom he later promised cellphones and cash for him to find a place where a body could be dumped.

When Johnson refused to assist, he was branded a coward by Hamilton, who, after his arrest, warned Johnson to keep his mouth shut, the court heard.

The evidence outlined to the 12-member panel of jurors was extracted from a statement given by Johnson to the police before he was killed by gunmen.

The statement was read into evidence by Detective Sergeant Conrad Granston, who had interviewed Johnson on June 8, 2009 as part of his probe into the October 24, 2008 abduction and murder of Jhaneel Goulbourne.

Goulbourne was abducted outside her Harbour View, St Andrew, home by men in a white bus, sometime following the filing of a complaint that led to Hamilton being charged with carnal abuse.

Johnson's statement is part of damning evidence given against Hamilton in the two-week-old trial. A witness has already testified that Hamilton confessed to him that he killed the teen at sea and dump her body. Another man had testified that Hamilton told him that he was going to "tek weh" the teen.

Still, the defence is claiming that there was a plot to frame Hamilton.

According to Johnson's statement, Hamilton told him, upon their introduction in St Mary in October 2008, that he was in trouble and, as a result, was not at work.

On another day, Hamilton and his brother, whom Johnson called 'Bull' in his statement, returned in a white Toyota bus.

"Mi ina some trouble. Mi haffi get rid of somebody but me want somewhere to dash weh di body," Johnson said in his statement that Hamilton told him.

"Dem man yah a bush man. Him must can find somewhere in Robin's Bay to dash weh the body," Johnson said a man named Sobers interjected.

According to Johnson's statement, Hamilton subsequently called with the same request and promised "to give me a food". Hamilton, the court heard, said the "food" would be two cellphones and money that someone had for him.

Johnson said he wasn't interested but that Hamilton kept calling.

On about October 22 or 23, 2008, according to the statement, Hamilton, his brother Bull and another man visited Johnson in the same white Toyota bus.

"See me badman friend yah," Hamilton said to Johnson about the man in the van. "Dem man yah a real killer. You see say you never haffi do nothing. You a gwaan like you a coward."

Hamilton, the court heard, then turned to his brother and said: "A dem man yah you say a badman?"

According to the statement, Hamilton subsequently told Johnson that he "got through with the client".

Yesterday, Hamilton's lead attorney Valerie Neita-Robertson sought to attack Johnson's character and Granston's handling of the investigation.

It was brought out then that Hamilton's phone went missing from Granston's car; that Granston never put Hamilton on an identification parade for Johnson to determine if he was in fact thethe person whom he said asked him to find a location to dump a body; and that Granston never questioned Sobers about his participation in the conversation of which Johnson spoke.

Neita-Robertson suggested that Hamilton's brother was actually called Bowler and that it was another man who was called Bull. However, Granston said he did not know about that.

The trial continues next Wednesday, when the Crown is expected to call its last witness.

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