Youth testifies to being struck in head in 2017 teen fight

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By Latrishka Thomas

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The alleged victim was the first person to take the stand yesterday in the trial against Daniel Westford who allegedly badly wounded him in a fight in 2017.

On September 15 that year, the complainant was reportedly heading home from school when he was approached by the defendant – who was 15 at the time – and struck in the head to the point where he suffered a depressed skull bone fracture and had to be hospitalised for about two weeks.

The complainant, Devonte James, told the court that he and the accused had gone to primary school together, but at the time of the incident he was a 14-year-old Princess Margaret School student while the defendant attended the Antigua Grammar School.

He stated that there was no initial enmity between him and the accused.

He said, however, that one of his friends dated Westford’s cousin and one day the couple got into an argument and Westford started issuing threats.

James went on to testify that the defendant visited his school a few times prior to the incident, accompanied by a group.

Westford appeared to be in complete disagreement with this piece of evidence as he could be seen shaking his head from left to right while sitting in the docks.

The complainant went on to report that on the third time the defendant visited the Hilda Davis Drive School was when the incident took place.

James said that he saw a group of people running and then saw the accused with something in his hand.

“When I turned the corner Daniel and his friends caught up to me, he said ‘do wa you haffu do now’ and he came in my face and that’s when I pick up a stick,” James recounted.

The alleged victim said that he did not hit the defendant but a fight erupted.

He said they were stopped by a passerby and told to go home but while walking away he was struck in his head with a stone and fell to the floor.

While on the floor, he claimed that Westford threw a stone at him again and that’s when he looked up and saw him.

“After that I don’t really remember much because I was in and out of consciousness. I woke up inside the ambulance,” he shared.

James was then cross examined by Westford’s lawyer, Lawrence Daniels, who suggested that the complainant’s evidence in the dock contained details which he neglected to tell the police.

James explained that he only had one short interview with the police a few days after the incident due to his medical state.

Daniels also insinuated that James struck Westford with the stick first but James vehemently denied all of the lawyer’s claims.

The trial continued before Justice Ann-Marie Smith with more prosecution witnesses and is expected to wrap up today.

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