Officer freed of murder charge after witness changes testimony
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
A POLICEMAN, who has been off the job for the last 10 years, was freed of a murder charge on Tuesday after a policeman who was a Crown witness admitted that he had lied in his first statement.
Constable Deon Carr, who was charged with the murder of Constable Halkeith Ergos, was freed on a no-case submission made by defence lawyer Valerie Neita Robertson.
Justice Evan Brown upheld the submission on the grounds that the witness had lied and was not credible. He directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.
Ergos, who was attached to the Hannah Town Police Station, was fatally shot on May 23, 2003 after Carr had allegedly stopped a motorist in the vicinity of the Blood Bank on Slipe Pen Road, Kingston.
After the Crown closed its case, Neita Robertson submitted that the prosecution could not establish that there was any intention to kill or that there was any transferred malice. She submitted that the Crown witness was manifestly unreliable as he had admitted that he had lied in the first statement, which was given in 2003.
The witness had said in that statement that he did not witness the shooting incident. The witness explained at the trial in the Home Circuit Court that he lied in the first statement because he did not want to come to court and he was in fear of his life.
However, in a further statement, he admitted he was present when Ergos was fatally shot. He also testified that he was a Christian and he was now speaking the truth as to what had happened.
The witness told the court that Carr grabbed the motorist and began pulling him about. Carr began poking his gun at the motorist, who asked him what he was doing. The motorist boxed away Carr's hand and an explosion was heard. Ergos was then fatally shot.
Carr was first charged with manslaughter, but after a seven-member jury was selected in 2007 to try the case, the prosecutor decided that he should be indicted for murder. The manslaughter trial was then aborted.