Telecoms worker says others could access computer without his knowledge
AN employee of telecommunications firm Flow testified in the murder trial of Everton “Beachy Stout” McDonald on Tuesday that employees other than himself could access his work computer which he used to retrieve call data records important to the case.
The employee, who is a law enforcement liaison and court assessment officer, testified that although he was given a password to access the system, he was immediately prompted to enter a new password known only to him.
However, despite this, he said other people could access the computer to effect software updates and other activities.
The Flow worker was giving evidence in the Beachy Stout trial in the Home Circuit Court in Kingston, in relation to a request from the police for Flow to provide call data records linked to a particular telephone number that was registered in the name of a woman.
He explained for the seven-member jury and Presiding Judge Chester Stamp some of the steps he took to fulfill the request of the police who were probing the July 20, 2020 murder of Tonia McDonald, the second wife of Portland businessman Beachy Stout.
Tonia was murdered in Portland and her burnt body with multiple stab wounds found on the main road at Sherwood Forest in the parish. Her husband and another man by the name of Oscar Barnes were arrested in connection with the crime and placed on trial for murder and conspiracy to murder. A key feature in the case is said to be phone call recordings obtained by a witness in the matter who claimed that he was responsible for taping conversations between himself and Beachy Stout. However, there have been no telephone records linked directly to Beachy Stout.
“To the best of my knowledge, no one else had my password; I did not share my password with anyone. The system tells me who numbers are assigned to, and I provide the information to the police. I cannot alter numbers or subscriber information. Other people maintain my laptop so it is possible people could access my laptop without my knowledge. I added a few rows to the Excel document but I didn’t take away anything,” the telecoms employee told the court.
“My computer can be accessed remotely to effect software updates; files can be accessed to affect the operation of the laptop. To the best of my knowledge my device was working properly. If there was an issue, I would know because there would be an error message. The maintenance of my computer is handled by my company and myself. Maintenance is done regularly if there are updates from the company,” he said.
A woman detective sergeant assigned to the Criminal Investigations Branch (CIB) of Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) told the court on Tuesday that she was asked by the lead detective in the case to assist with the transcribing of audio recordings.
These audio recordings were allegedly of conversations between Beachy Stout and another man, Denvalyn “Bubbla” Minott.
Minott, who turned State witness against Beachy Stout, claimed that he was hired by the businessman to kill his wife but ended up subcontracting the murder to Oscar Barnes.
According to Minott, he was promised $3 million by the businessman if he successfully completed the hit. However, Minott alleged that after Tonia was killed, Beachy Stout allegedly refused to hand over the money, which prompted him to record telephone conversations that they subsequently had with each other.
In relation to the recordings the detective sergeant said she went to a correctional facility to visit Minott, where she played the recordings for him to hear and confirm that he was familiar with the recordings. She then said she transcribed what she heard on the recordings.
“I started the transcript at the correctional facility but, based on the amount and length of what was recorded, I continued the process at CIB. The transcripts were printed and went back to Mr Minott, who read over the transcripts. Minott said yes to what was in the transcript. I went to visit Mr Minott on the 7th and the 15th of September, 2023. My signature is on the last page of the transcripts to say I prepared the 25 pages,” she said.
Under cross-examination by Christopher Townsend, who is one of five attorneys-at-law representing Beachy Stout, the female detective said that Minott identified for her the voices on three of the recordings, while the others were played outside of his hearing.