Tue | Oct 17, 2017

Ex-cop trial: Judge tells jurors issue of credibility key in reaching verdict

Published:Thursday | July 20, 2017 | 12:16 PMLivern Barrett

Supreme Court judge Justice David Fraser today told jurors in the murder trial of former police constable Mark Russell that the matter of credibility is the main issue for them to determine who they believe.

Russell is on trial for the shooting death of 18-year-old Ravin Thompson in July 2007.

Three Jamaica Defence Force soldiers testified during the trial, that they saw Russell place a police-issued M16 rifle in Thompson’s hands and took it back before the teen was shot several times by another policeman, identified as Morris Lee.

However, Russell and his attorney, Michael Jordan, have accused the soldiers of lying.

Jordan also pointed to what he said was unchallenged evidence that his client never fired his weapon on the night the teen was killed.

Justice Fraser, in his direction to the seven-member jury, said they will have to determine who is lying and who is telling the truth.

"Whether it's the soldiers or the accused man," he said.

Justice Fraser told the jurors that in assessing the credibility of a witness they should take into consideration the passage of time since the incident took place.

"This incident happened in 2007. It is now 2017, some 10 years later," he pointed out.

The high court judge also urged jurors not to be influenced by sympathies for the teen's family or the accused, but to focus on the evidence placed before them.