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Policeman pleads innocence in murder trial of 14-y-o girl

Published:Thursday | October 18, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator

The policeman accused of murdering 14-year-old Jhaneel Goulbourne made an impassioned plea yesterday for the 12-member jury to question where was the independent evidence against him in the case.

Two prosecution witnesses, who were sharing a cell with Rushon Hamilton, said he confessed to them in October 2008 that he shot the girl and dumped the body at sea. A third witness said he overheard one of the conversations.

In an unsworn statement from the dock, Hamilton said: "What kind of idiot could I be, if I had done something like this as a sensible person, to be confessing to persons who are locked up with me having been forewarned by my lawyers?"

He added: "There is too much mix-up in this case against me. Everybody who is saying that I did this horrible thing, somehow, somewhat, by whatever means, seem to be connected with each other or by some means."

Hamilton gave his statement in the Home Circuit Court after the Crown closed its case yesterday after calling 11 witnesses.

Former police Constable Michael McDonald should have been the last witness to testify for the Crown, but the police were not able to locate him.

The Crown is alleging that in October 2008, Hamilton was charged with carnal abuse of the girl. On October 24, 2008 the girl was standing at her gate in Harbour View, St Andrew, when gunmen abducted her. She has not been seen since.

"The truth of the matter is that I am very sad that Jhaneel Goulbourne cannot be found because if she were available, I know that any charge that I had or any accusations that was made against me, I would have been freed a long time ago in this court when she would have been cross-examined by my lawyers," Hamilton told the jury.

He denied sexually assaulting Goulbourne and said it was McDonald who had an affair with the girl. He said he could not dream in a million years of hurting anyone. He told the jury he was innocent.

The defence called 80-year-old Adilyn Smith and Hamilton's grandmother, 70-year-old Veronica Grant - both of Esher, St Mary - to give character evidence for Hamilton. Grant said Hamilton was loving and caring while Smith said she taught him at Sabbath school and he was a humble child.