Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
THE FOUR men charged with the murder of 66-year-old businessman Roderick 'Bunny' Francis were denied bail when they appeared in the Home Circuit Court yesterday.
They are 42-year-old Carlos Batista; 27-year-old George Gardener, 36-year-old Sheldon Watson and Newton Welsh, all of Kingston addresses.
Supreme Court Judge Bertram Morrison remanded them to return to court on November 28 when their trial will commence.
Francis, who was the managing director of B&D Trawling Limited, which packages and exports seafood, was shot and killed while leaving his house on Queensway Drive in St Andrew in June last year.
The Crown had opposed bail.
Prosecutor Adle Duncan, in outlining the allegations in the case, said that Francis' murder was a contract killing.
HISTORY OF ACRIMONY
Duncan said Francis and a man, who is not before the court, were competitors and there was a history of acrimony between Francis and his competitor.
He said that Batista used to work for Francis, but he later began working for Francis' competitor.
Duncan said Batista was the one who allegedly organised the murder. He said Watson, who was employed to Francis' competitor as a driver, was alleged to be the person who drove Gardener, who is alleged to be the trigger man to the scene.
He told the court that two witnesses were at the scene. One was a licensed firearm holder, who challenged Gardener and also fired shots into the getaway car which was rented by the accused Batista. The licensed firearm holder subsequently pointed out Gardener at an informal identification in the presence of two justices of the peace. Duncan said Gardener did not want to be placed on an identification parade.
Duncan said Welsh was the alleged lookout man. He said the getaway car was sprayed over and taken to Batista's premises.
He said the Crown was also relying on cell-site analysis and telephone calls leading up to the murder.
The men are being represented by attorneys-at-law Michael Deans, Dianne Jobson, Peter Champagnie and Vincent Wellesley who, in applying for bail, pointed out that the case against their clients was very weak.