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Four testify for Livingston
published: Saturday | April 5, 2003

THE DEFENCE closed its case yesterday after calling four witnesses for 42-year-old Annette Livingston, one of the three accused on trial for the murder of attorney-at-law, Shirley Playfair.

"On behalf of Mrs. Livingston, I join with all who say it was a brutal murder and those who committed it, must be punished", Frank Phipps, Q.C. said yesterday, as he addressed the jury and asked them to find Livingston not guilty of the offence.

The Crown, represented by Kathy Pyke, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, has led evidence at the trial, which began on March 17, that Mrs. Playfair was in her office at 2 Seymour Avenue, Kingston 10 at about mid-day on April 13, 2000, when two men went there and cut her throat.

Livingston, who was Mrs. Playfair's secretary for 17 years, is on trial along with 26-year-old Ramone Drysdale, also called Fudgie, of Metcalfe Road, Kingston 13 and 50-year-old Ashley Ricketts, taxi driver, of 44A Maxfield Avenue, Kingston 13. Dwayne "Amin" Williams, of Metcalfe Road, Kingston was also charged with the murder, but he escaped from custody on April 22, last year.

Evidence was given at the trial that about 45 minutes after Mrs. Playfair was murdered, police and soldiers held Williams and Drysdale in Ricketts' taxi on Metcalfe Road. Two ratchet knives were taken from Williams and Drysdale and DNA tests proved that the knives had on Mrs. Playfair's blood.

Michael Gordon, a photographer, was one of the four witnesses called by the accused Annette Livingston, 42, of Buff Bay, Portland.

Gordon said yesterday that he visited the crime scene at Seymour Park, on April 13, 2000 and took photographs. He said he saw a crowd and Livingston crying while being escorted to a motorcar.

Vinnette Forrester, a dental nurse and Justice of the Peace, testified that she and Livingston lived in the same housing scheme in Buff Bay. She said she knew Livingston for 21 years. She described Livingston as being very trustworthy, of good character and was not involved in any wrongdoing or unlawful activity.

In his address to the jury, Mr. Phipps also asked them to base their decisions solely on the evidence they heard in court and ensure that the innocent was acquitted and the guilty punished. He described Livingston's arrest as a travesty of justice. He said she was detained on April 15, 2000 because she did not point out anyone at an identification parade. He said while she was a suspect, she was taken to another identification parade and did not point out anyone and was then locked up again.

Mr. Phipps said the police in Jamaica "like to take shortcut". He said the police did not know why Mrs. Playfair was murdered, so they detained Livingston to see if they could get anything out of her. Mr. Phipps asked the jury not to speculate because the evidence did not point to Livingston's guilt.

The trial will continue on Monday before Miss Justice Kay Beckford in the Home Circuit Court.

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