Defence in Shineka Gray’s murder trial compares Crown’s case to garbage truck
ST JAMES, Jamaica – “The crown’s case is like a garbage truck carrying garbage down a hill.” That’s how the lawyer representing the man accused of killing 15-year-old Shineka Gray in 2017, Gregory Roberts, described the case against his client.
The claim was made by Attorney-at-law Leroy Equiano during his closing arguments in the St James Circuit Court on Wednesday.
Equiano, during his presentation, warned the jury to be careful of emotions and look at the facts in the case.
Equiano also cast doubt on several witnesses called by the Crown including a man called ‘Gangster’ and co-accused Mario Morrison.
Morrison pleaded guilty in September 2022 after entering a plea deal with the state and was sentenced to life in prison a month later.
Equiano also suggested that the witness seemed to be a man who spent most of his adult life in prison.
It came out in court on December 4, 2023, that Morrison was on bail when the crime against Gray was committed. He had reportedly committed a murder.
Meanwhile, a photo image expert, whom Supreme Court Judge Justice Bertram Morrison had given time to secure for Wednesday’s hearing, was unable to make it to court wh+ich resulted in the defence ending its case prematurely.
The image expert was expected to be the last of four witnesses for the defence.
On Tuesday, Equiano gave notice that the defence would be making an application for Kemar Smith, a detective inspector attached to the Counter Terrorism and Organised Crime Branch (CTOC), who in 2017 was a detective constable attached to the Forensic and Cyber Crime department as a digital forensic officer, to be called to the stand on the defence case.
Equiano told Justice Morrison that in the interest of justice, his application is twofold. The first has to do with an interpretation given of an image, which he said can very strongly challenge or contradict Detective Inspector Smith’s findings during his presentation to the court on December 11, 2023. The second issue has to do with the several other thumbnails uncovered by Smith, which reported;y strongly contradicts his evidence.
On Wednesday, Equiano pointed to discrepancies in Detective Inspector Smith’s presentation in which he told the court that thumbnails in general do not have a timestamp affixed to it.
However, Equiano gave an example of thumbnails created, deleted and later retrieved and extracted by Detective Inspector Smith from the phone of the victim which had a time stamp yet the one claiming to be that of Gray’s body at the crime scene.
“This has no date and time. The question is, why did he lie to us (the court)?” stated Equiano who then added, “Where did he get the photo from? Did it come from any of the phones?”
“If these are problems with the crown’s case, then we ask, ‘where can we go from here?’” questioned Equiano.
Equiano also questioned that while Roberts was not conclusively implicated by DNA in the girl’s death, who is the third person that the DNA results were unable to identify as having a hand in the crime.
Gray, who was a grade 10 student, was found dead in Irwin, St James, three days after she had been reported missing. She was last seen alive in Montego Bay while on her way home from the funeral of a schoolmate.
Roberts and his co-accused, Mario Morrison were later taken in custody in connection with the killing.
The Crown is expected to start making its closing presentation this afternoon. This will allow the judge time to make his summation and instructions to the jury by next week.
– Anthony Lewis