Sun | May 26, 2019

Vanessa Kirkland murder trial | Witness identifies stolen cell phone, recounts robbery

Published:Saturday | February 2, 2019 | 12:21 AM

A defence witness yesterday confirmed ownership of a cell phone said to have been taken from the blue Suzuki Swift motor car that was shot up along Norman Lane on March 20, 2012. The shooting incident resulted in the death of 16-year-old Immaculate Conception High School student Vanessa Kirkland.

The phone was admitted into evidence during the trial for the three cops charged with Kirkland’s murder at the Home Circuit Court in downtown Kingston.

The witness, whose identity the judge asked to be withheld for security reasons, proved ownership of the BlackBerry Curve mobile phone by successfully unlocking the device using a password. He told the court that he recognised his WhatsApp profile picture, messages, and a call he had made before being robbed.

He previously identified the mobile phone and a set of keys to his motorbike at the scene of the shooting.

WITNESS TESTIMONY

The witness on Thursday gave testimony that he was sitting along the bank of a canal in the vicinity of his brother’s house when a blue Suzuki Swift motor car drove up and a man exited. He told the court that the man approached him and attempted to take his phone, but he refused.

Moments later, another man, wielding what appeared to be a firearm, also approached him, making similar demands. He said that he subsequently gave them his phone for fear of losing his life. The witness filed a report to the police that same night.

When prosecutor Kathy-Ann Pyke asked him how he knew that the man had a gun, he said, “When I looked up, I saw the hole of the gun and a wheel to the side of the gun … . I only know it is a gun because it looks like a gun.”

UPWARD ANGULAR SHOOTING

Also questioned was police Sergeant David Bogle, who was asked by defence attorney Peter Champagnie to explain the term ‘upward angular shooting’.

“That’s when persons are untrained and they are in a flinging motion firing at you, so instead of the bullet hitting the target, it would go up,” said Bogle, who has been in the Jamaica Constabulary Force for nine years.

He added that this is usually done by individuals such as gunmen, who are untrained shooters.

The prosecution is alleging that the three accused cops – constables Anna-Kay Bailey, Durvin Hayles, and Andrewain Smith – drove on to Norman Lane on March 20, 2012, sometime after 9 p.m. and opened fire on the blue Suzuki Swift motor car parked along the roadway. Kirkland, who was an occupant of the vehicle during the gunfire, was injured. She subsequently succumbed to her injuries.

Bailey, Hayles, and Smith have maintained that they acted in self-defence.

nickoy.wilson@gleanerjm.com