Prosecution sets the record straight on murder cases

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Light has been shed on two recent court cases that saw several murder-accused defendants walk free.

The office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) sought to allay public concerns over why the cases collapsed.

Four men accused of murdering 66-year-old Campbell Jackson during a shooting in Gray’s Farm two years ago walked free earlier this month due to a lack of evidence.

That lack of evidence, the DPP’s office said, included unreliable voice identification evidence and a change to the main witness’s statement.

Keneca Ryan, aka “Boom Boom”, Alexis Mussington, Arthur James and Kenneha Marcel were charged with killing the businessman on May 25 2017 while he was sitting outside his Greenbay home.

The main witness in the case told police that he saw one of the men, known as “Boom Boom”, wearing a tam, while firing shots at the deceased.

But in preparing for the case, the same witness denied having made those statements to police and said that the men involved in the shooting were wearing masks.

In addition, the man described being about 160-180 yards away from where the shooting took place and, noting that the incident happened at night in an area that might not have been well lit, his testimony would have been unreliable.

Hence, the four men, three of whom had been on bail offered by the judge, were discharged two weeks ago. The fourth man was not able to make the bail offered to him.

Meanwhile, with regard to the case of Clarence ‘Wadada’ Thomas who was on trial for the 2018 murder of 31-year old Kemmoy Jeffers, the prosecution told Observer that the key witness also changed her statement, which caused her to be deemed a hostile witness.

The woman, in her statement to police, said that Thomas beat the deceased with a cutlass, mainly to his head, for almost 30 minutes.

But when she was brought to the stand, she said that she did not know or see the 65-year-old.

She then complained about feeling sick and confused and even when her statement was handed to her so that she could re-read it, she said she didn’t remember saying the aforementioned.

Last week, the trial, which initially involved Thomas and co-accused, Earlsfield “Earlfred” James, saw many witnesses take the stand but the woman was the only one who claimed to have seen Thomas beating the deceased.

That gave weight to the defence counsels’ no-case submission. As such, Justice Stanley John upheld the application and freed Thomas.

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