Mon | Dec 16, 2019

Beheading trial | Defence attorney brands main witness a liar

Published:Friday | November 22, 2019 | 12:37 AMLivern Barrett/Senior Staff Reporter

Jurors in the so-called beheading murder trial have been asked to rely on a liar, the attorney for the last remaining accused has asserted.

Lloyd McFarlane, the attorney for accused killer Kemar Riley was making reference to the main prosecution witness.

Riley is on trial for two counts of murder arising from the 2011 killing of Charmaine Cover-Rattray, 40, and her 18-year-old daughter, Joeith Lynch, at their home in Lauriston, St Catherine. Both women were decapitated.

The main witness, whose name cannot be published because of a court order, gave evidence that Riley admitted, during a conversation at the Spanish Town Police Station lock-up, that he saw a man chopping Lynch. The witness said that Riley told him he had to move the man out the way and shot Lynch because “she did a bawl out too loud”.

Seeking to support his assertion that the witness was lying about the jailhouse conversation, McFarlane pointed to the statements he gave police investigators and his evidence in court.

“He told the police that it was on the Friday, but he has told you it was the Wednesday,” he told jurors in his closing argument in the Home Circuit Court.

The attorney was seeking to indicate a disparity in date – July 29 vs July 27 – between the police statement and court testimony regarding the referenced conversation with Riley.

“What is the significance of this? He must tell you when this conversation took place. Is this a mistake you can forgive him for? [Name withheld] is clearly lying to you on oath,” McFarlane continued.

Further, he noted that the witness, in his first statement to the police on July 29, did not tell them about the jailhouse conversation. “The reason he did not tell them about the conversation is because it did not happen,” McFarlane asserted.

“This is a liar you have been asked to rely on in this important matter,” he insisted.

Before closing the case for the defence, McFarlane called a police witness who testified that the statement the main witness gave on July 29 was “for him to account for himself between the time of the incident and the time he was taken into custody”.

McFarlane noted, also, that prosecutors presented no scientific evidence to show that his client was present when the women were killed.

“There was just nothing. No fingerprint, no blood sample. Nothing,” he said.

McFarlane described the killings as “horrendous” and “grisly” but had a caution for the jury of four men and three women.

“You can’t make that obscure you from looking at whether the prosecution has proved their case,” he warned.

Riley is one of five men who were charged for the killings. Three others – Adrian Campbell, Fabian Smith, and Roshane Goldson – pleaded guilty to non-capital murder and are scheduled to be sentenced on December 13.

The other man, Sanja Ducally, was freed on Wednesday after presiding judge Vivene Harris found that there was insufficient evidence against him and directed the jury to return a verdict of not guilty.

Lead prosecutor Paula Llewellyn is to make her closing arguments today.

livern.barrett@gleanerjm.com