Mon | Aug 26, 2019

Death Squad Trial | Main prosecution witness damaged beyond repair, defence attorney

Published:Saturday | March 11, 2017 | 12:00 AMLivern Barrett

The credibility of the main prosecution witness in the so-called police death squad trial has been damaged beyond repair, the attorney for one of the policemen before the court has argued.

At the same time, prosecutors also attempted to punch holes in the accounts given by the two policemen about the 2010 incident for which they are before the courts.

Norman Godfrey, the attorney for Constable Collis 'Chucky' Brown, told the seven-member jury, during closing arguments in the Home Circuit Court yesterday, that the physical evidence on the ground does not accord with the evidence of the main witness.

"He has given about three different versions of events ... . What the crown is now asking you to do is play 'eeny meeny miny moe'. It would be contemptuous to accuse [the main prosecution witness] of being a person of truth," Godfrey argued.

Brown and Corporal Roan Morrison are on trial for murder and wounding with intent. They were charged by the Independent Commission of Investigations following a shooting incident in May Pen, Clarendon, on February 13, 2010 in which 20-year-old Phaebian Dinnal was killed and another man injured.

As an example, Godfrey pointed to evidence presented during the three-week-old trial that human blood was along the roadway where the shooting occurred and compared it with the testimony of the main witness that the roadway was lined with cars on both sides.

"We need some explanation of how blood, which turned out to be human blood, got there if vehicles were parked there," he questioned.

Brown, in his caution statement, testified that he fired his service weapon in self-defence after being challenged by gunmen, while Morrison maintained that he never shot anyone.

However, lead prosecutor Ann-Marie Fuertado-Richards, in her closing argument, questioned those assertions, positing that the shooting was neither an accident nor self-defence.

Pointing out that both men, in their statements, placed themselves at the scene of the shooting, Fuertado-Richards told jurors that "this was not a case where they can say Mr Dinnal had a gun".

To support this assertion, she pointed to the testimony of police Inspector Balvey Thomas and the statements of the two that no weapons were recovered after the shooting.

Fuertado-Richards acknowledged that there were inconsistencies in the statement of the main prosecution witness, but said jurors would have to determine whether they are "slight or material" to the trial.

Vincent Wellesley, who, along with Althea Freeman, is representing Morrison, will present his closing argument on Monday. The case could go to the jury for a verdict by Tuesday.