Ex-girlfriend’s mom says accused killer not prone to violence
MONTEGO BAY, St James — In testimony sometimes dotted by tense exchanges with the Crown, mother of the ex-girlfriend of Gregory Roberts — who is on trial for killing Shineka Gray — told the court on Thursday that Roberts was a good person and not someone prone to violence. She said she had never seen him being violent towards her daughter and she believes he would not hurt her child.
She explained that her daughter had an on-and-off relationship with Roberts, a taxi driver, who from time to time would give her daughter money.
In response to questions from lead defence attorney Leroy Equiano, she also admitted that Roberts had sent her voice and text notes. However, she said she believed the messages were just talk. There was previous testimony that Roberts sent messages to her and her daughter in an attempt to scare both women into repaying money he said his ex had fleeced him. In one of the texts, he said he had killed before and was willing to do so again.
The first testy exchange between the witness and Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Andrea Martin-Swaby came as the prosecutor probed her testimony that she knew a man called Gangster and he was a close friend of the family. The witness had told Equiano that Gangster would mediate disagreements between Roberts and her daughter.
However, in questioning the witness, Martin-Swaby noted that the woman had not included these comments in her statement to the police. The witness said it was not mentioned because she was not asked. She also said she is of the view that Gangster did not like Roberts.
The stand-off came when the Crown suggested that the witness was making up aspects of her testimony.
“I never personally saw them quarrel,” the witness stated.
“You never open your eyes and see nothing between the two of them?” Martin-Swaby asked.
“Gangster would say little things about Gregory,” the witness replied.
“You are making an inference?” Martin-Swaby asked of the witness.
“Were you there?” the witness retorted sharply.
“Would you say you have a good relationship with Gregory?” Martin-Swaby then asked.
“I did say it’s an on-and-off relationship,” stated the witness.
“Is it a good relationship?” Martin-Swaby asked, to which there was deafening silence.
“Are you going to answer?” Martin-Swaby asked, but the witness maintained her silence.
The woman, who the defence had anticipated would be harmful to its case, was on Wednesday described as a reluctant witness who had failed to appear. But on Thursday she explained that she did not intentionally ignore the subpoena issued on November 28 last year. She said she had been awaiting a call from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions to advise her when she would be required for court. She also said she was having challenges with her phone.
Also taking the stand on Thursday was the first of four witnesses that the defence intends to call.
The witness, who is currently serving a sentence for unlawful wounding and has a pending case of wounding with intent, gave an account of what he was told about Gray’s murder while in prison and explained why he decided to become a witness.
The drama began when Martin-Swaby suggested to the witness that the co-accused in the girl’s killing, Mario Morrison, was not his friend.
Morrison pleaded guilty in September 2022 after entering a plea deal with the State and was sentenced to life in prison a month later. He is also known as Speci.
“When you were selling your jewellery that day when you said Speci came, was that the first time you see Speci?” asked Martin-Swaby.
“Mi never see Speci as friend, so mi never talk to him,” the witness replied.
“So you are selling your things and Speci just decided to tell you everything?” asked Martin-Swaby.
“He asked me where mi come from and what me get charged for, you understand?” explained the witness.
“Sir, you are not telling the truth,” suggested Martin-Swaby.
The witness replied, “Miss, I am speaking the truth, you understand? You are trying to twist my mouth and I am telling you seh a that go on. That is what happened, you understand?”
The case resumes on Monday at 1:00 pm when the defence will begin calling its three remaining witnesses.