Tue | May 21, 2019

Vanessa Kirkland Murder Trial | Cops: We didn’t intend to hurt Vanessa

Published:Friday | February 1, 2019 | 12:22 AMNickoy Wilson/Gleaner Writer

Two of the three cops charged with the murder of 16-year-old schoolgirl Vanessa Kirkland gave unsworn statements yesterday in which they expressed remorse as their trial continued at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

Constable Andrewain Smith, who said that he has been a member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) for 16 years, said in his address to the court that he acted in self-defence when he fired in the direction of the car.

“On the night of the incident, I was trying to protect my life and the lives of my colleagues from the two men who were firing at us from the blue Suzuki Swift. I would never hurt Vanessa ... . This incident happened quickly, Mr Foreman and your members. Our main target were the two men who were firing at us,” Smith said.

Nine-year member of the JCF and father of two, Durvin Hayles, also gave an unsworn statement. He said that the incident of March 20, 2012, was the first time he was shot at.

Hayles told the court that after the incident, four women and one man emerged from the vehicle. He said he and his colleagues took the women to Kingston Public Hospital, but Kirkland, he later learned, succumbed to her injuries.

“I was deeply saddened. I still am. I am very remorseful for the loss of life and injury to any innocent bystander by [me] and by my colleagues. It was not our intention, it was not my intention, to hurt Vanessa Kirkland or any other innocent bystander,” the cop remarked.

Hayles, who told the court that he has a 16-year-old daughter, said the fatal shooting has changed his life.

“I think of Vanessa Kirkland as my own 16-year-old daughter. I cannot begin to understand the pain and the anguish that Vanessa Kirkland’s mother [has] been going through from she heard of her daughter’s demise,” Hayles said.

The trial continues today with the examination of a witness who said he was robbed by men driving a blue Suzuki Swift motor car with the same licence plate on the night of the killing.

Constable Anna-Kay Bailey is also on trial for Kirkland’s murder.