Deported man with multiple priors testifies to witnessing cops cut down friend 'Toby'

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, May 16, 2019

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A Clarendon man who testified that he saw his friend being shot and killed by a police corporal, in February 2012, broke down on the witness stand yesterday as he related details of the incident.

“The man kill mi fren fi no reason and mi see it clear,” the witness said, weeping.

He was later allowed to leave the witness box to compose himself. Before he left, however, Queen's Counsel Valerie Neita Robertson was overheard saying, “Perform, man. Perform!”

The man, a construction worker who was deported from the United States of America, was giving evidence in the so-called death squad trial in the Home Circuit Court where Detective Corporal Kevin Adams and Constable Jerome Whyte are being tried for the alleged murder of Anthony 'Toby' Trought at his home on First Street in May Pen, Clarendon.

Neita Robertson is the lead attorney for Adams.

The witness, who began his testimony on Monday, told the court that on the day of the incident both policemen arrived at his house looking for his friend, but he was not there. He said the two accused were accompanied by four other policemen armed with both long and short guns.

He said before they left, Adams threatened him, saying, “Wi gonna leave, and if mi come back, you gonna dead.”

The witness told the court that he replied: “You ain't got to kill anybody 'cause we not wrongdoers here.”

According to him, as the policemen were leaving and about to cross a single-lane bridge leading to and from the community, they saw Trought approaching in a motor vehicle. Trought and a man identified only as 'Cha Cha' stopped to allow the officers to cross the bridge, but after doing so the officers turned their car around and pursued the two, the witness said.

While continuing his evidence, the witness said that the officers alighted from their vehicle with weapons drawn as soon as the car with Trought stopped in front of his house, which was located on a dead-end street.

“Cha Cha came out with his hands half-way up and Toby came out with his hands over his head,” the witness said, noting that the men did not have anything in their hands.

According to him, Whyte approached Cha Cha and spoke to him while Adams walked over to his friend and spoke to him as well, but he could not hear what was being said.

“At that point I saw Adams raise his right shoulder and then I heard two shots. Cha Cha ran off and I ran in the direction where he shoot Toby,” the witness testified.

The witness said the remaining policemen who were present then walked over to where his friend was lying on the ground, and he heard several more shots, which were fired in the direction of Trought's house.

Two of the police personnel, he said, then picked up his friend's body and put it in the vehicle.

“Look at what you made me do,” he said Adams told him before the cops left. “If I come back around here all a yuh ago disappear.”

The witness said he took a shortcut and went to the hospital where, sometime after, he saw the police arriving with his friend's body.

However, while he was being cross-examined by Neita Robertson, the witness said he had omitted the names of the two accused police officers when he first gave his statement to the Independent Commission of Investigation (INDECOM) in 2012, later adding them when gave his second statement in 2014.

He denied the suggestion that he only arrived at the hospital before the cops because he used a shorter route, insisting that it should have taken the police about seven minutes of driving from where the incident occurred.

He also refuted claims that he had been placed in the witness protection programme, and that he was involved in the guns-for drugs trade.

He did confess, however, to having been convicted several times both locally and internationally for possessing, selling and smuggling ganja. In one instance, he said, he had been arrested for smuggling six tons of the drug.

The witness also conceded to having racked up convictions for domestic abuse, smoking marijuana, resisting arrest and bribery.

Under further cross–examination, he told the court that on the day of incident, Trought had just picked up his kids from school and had let them at his sister's house just before he crossed over the bridge to his death.

Adams and Whyte are among 13 cops from the Clarendon Police Division who INDECOM charged in 2014 for allegedly carrying out extrajudicial killings as part of a so-called death squad based in the parish.

Adams, who was in custody from 2014, was offered bail in the sum of $5 million on April 25. He was freed of a murder charge earlier this year and is awaiting trial for another.

The trial will resume today before Justice Marcia Dunbar-Green.


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