Lawyer claims inconsistencies in victim's statements
Livern Barrett, Gleaner Writer
A 54-year-old man has told the West Kingston commission of enquiry that he was shot in the back by a member of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) as he retreated to a friend's house during the May 2010 police-military operation in Tivoli Gardens.
Granville Roy Johnson, a coal vendor at the Coronation Market, yesterday recounted how he immediately called out to two female friends inside the house, telling them he had been shot and was bleeding.
He testified that for the entire day he was unable to get medical treatment because of the gunfire outside.
"The shots were still firing outside, so Bertha (his friend) took my shirt off and tie[d] it where [there] was bleeding and I spent the whole day and night lying down in the house," he recalled.
However, this account, which was also contained in two statements he gave to the Office of the Public Defender in 2010, was quickly challenged by Peter Champagnie, one of the attorneys for the army.
Champagnie sought to highlight inconsistencies in the two statements and a third statement Johnson provided in November this year.
"In a statement you have in 2010, you said you discovered that you were shot in the hand and the left side, you remember that?" Champagnie asked.
"Nothing like that," the witness replied.
"The reason you are saying that is because you don't want to admit to this commission that you said you were shot in the hand," the attorney pressed.
"No, why would I say that?" replied Johnson, who, at times, got emotional and accused the attorney of trying to twist his words.
Responding to another question, Johnson said he would be surprised to hear that there is no medical report speaking to any gunshot wounds in his back.
"I am suggesting to you that when you tell this commission that you were shot by soldiers, that was not true," Champagnie said.
"No, I don't agree. I got shot by soldiers," Johnson insisted.
The former West Kingston resident said as a result of his ordeal and the ongoing tension in the area, his coal business, which usually made him $26,000 per week, suffered losses of approximately $60,000.
A third witness, 18-year-old Kishonna Gordon, also gave evidence yesterday.