Sat | May 30, 2020

Tivoli witnesses claim statements inaccurate

Published:Monday | September 14, 2015 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett
Lilieth James testifies during yesterday’s sitting of the West Kingston commission of enquiry.

Two residents of Tivoli Gardens yesterday rejected as untrue aspects of the witness statements they gave about the May 2010 police-military operations in their west Kingston community.

Lilieth James and Sharon Warren both backed away from assertions they made in separate statements they gave to convener of the Tivoli Committee, Lloyd D'Aguilar, and at the Legal Aid Clinic in St Andrew.

This came during cross-examination before the west Kingston commission of enquiry after attorneys for the Jamaica Defence Force and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) raised questions that the assertions were at odds with oral testimony both women gave.

Blamed D'Aguilar

Warren even suggested, at one point, that D'Aguilar was to blame for the discrepancy in the statement she signed.

"Is him mussi no tek it down good or write it down good or him can't read and write, but me gi him it [the statement] the right way. So either him write it fi him way or what ... ," she insisted.

"I would like for you, Sharon, to explain to this enquiry why you signed to a statement about things you said happened that you are now saying did not happen?" attorney for the JCF, Valerie Neita-Robertson, questioned.

"Him gimme fi sign so me jus sign. Me finish and him say sign it and I signed it," she responded.

The discrepancy surrounded claims Warren made during her evidence-in-chief about how she helped to place a Tivoli Gardens man, Damion Lindsay - more popularly known as 'Lion King' - on to a handcart to get treatment for a gunshot wound.

She testified that she was standing near to her home when she heard Lindsay's girlfriend calling out for help.

Warren testified that Lindsay had a bullet wound to the groin area and lower abdomen.

The JCF attorney, however, read from the statement Warren gave D'Aguilar in which she claimed she saw 'Lion King' "walking towards the gully that leads to his house".

"I then heard 'Lion King' bawl out saying he had gotten shot. I then run to help him'," Neita-Robertson quoted her as saying in the statement.

"Ma'am, what I am interested in is that the story that you gave us today is different from the story in the statement. Do you agree?" the attorney questioned.

"No," Warren replied.

Chairman of the commission, Sir David Simmons, read from the statement James gave at the Legal Aid Clinic, in which she claimed she saw soldiers enter a house in Tivoli Gardens by kicking down the door.

According to the excerpt read by Simmons, James indicated that she heard gunfire in the house, then realised that two young men, who she identified as Martin and Oshane Lindsay, were in the house.

In addition, the statement indicated that a police car later came and removed the bodies of the two men from the house.

However, in rejecting this aspect of the statement, the 68-year-old James said she never saw this happen and did not relate this account to the persons who took the statement.