Wed | Feb 26, 2020

Prosecutor to treat witness as hostile in gas station murder trial

Published:Thursday | October 11, 2018 | 10:07 AM

Christopher Thomas, Gleaner Writer

The trial of brothers O’Neil and O’Brian Walters, who allegedly participated in a daring daylight murder at a St James gas station in 2016, is expected to start its third day in the St James Circuit Court on Thursday morning with a prosecution witness being treated as hostile.

The Walters brothers are charged with murder in relation to the shooting death of 22-year-old Kahni Erskine.

Erskine was ambushed and shot by gunmen at a gas station in Glendevon, St James on September 22, 2016.

The brazen shooting was caught on video.

During Wednesday’s hearing before presiding High Court Justice Sharon George, lead prosecutor Maxine Jackson applied for permission to treat a civilian witness as hostile.

The application followed a tense exchange between the two during the witness’ evidence-in-chief about a statement he signed.

“You’ve read the statement, so is that what you told the police?” Jackson asked the witness.

“No,” the witness answered.

“Did you sign all the pages on the same day?” asked Jackson.

“No... he (police officer) bring the paper come to me and I signed it,” the witness replied, following which Jackson made the application to treat him as hostile.

However, the application was contested by the Walters’ defence attorney Christopher Townsend, which led to a brief battle of words between him and Justice George.

“All that has been said is that a statement was presented to him a day after the police spoke to him, and the police asked him to sign it,” said Townsend.

“If it is that I find that he appears to be adverse, I am going to apply the application,” George answered.

One other civilian witness has so far given evidence for the prosecution in the trial.

The witness testified that on the day of the shooting, he saw a man identified as O’Brian Walters exiting a motor vehicle at the gas station, following which shots were fired.

Under cross-examination, the witness said that when he attended the identification parade he was only able to identify O’Brian Walters by his body type.

He later aid he was able to see the person’s front view at the gas station and that nothing obstructed his view at that time.