Defendant’s arrest detailed in court

Twelve police officers were involved in the arrest of defendant Sheldon Brown on a charge of attempted murder, the jury has heard.

Brown is accused of attempting to murder James Fernando Martin at the Cayman Islander Hotel on Tuesday night, 17 August 2004.

Chief Superintendent Derek Haines gave the court details of Brown’s arrest in answer to questions from Andrew Radcliffe QC on behalf of the Crown and Paul Purnell QC in cross-examination for the Defence.

Mr. Haines answered from memory because, although he did make notes about what happened that night, the notes were destroyed during Hurricane Ivan.

The senior officer said he conducted a briefing for officers before he went with them to Brown’s home address. He said he had been called to duty about 11pm on 17 August. The briefing was held at the George Town Police Station.

Of the 11 other officers, four were armed members of the Uniform Support Group. Their role was to provide security and, if necessary, force entry into the defendant’s apartment.

Brown was compliant and no force was necessary.

Two male and two female officers made up the search and arrest team that went into the premises.

Three other officers took positions around the premises.

Mr. Haines said the USG knocked on the door and shouted ‘armed police’. After a very short time the defendant came out accompanied by the woman who is now his wife.

He asked what was going on and Mr. Haines said he identified himself and told Brown he was arresting him on suspicion of attempted murder and cautioned him. The caution was that he was not obliged to say anything unless he wished to do so and anything he said would be taken down in writing and given as evidence.

Mr. Haines said Brown replied, ‘I haven’t been out.’

He said Brown was then handcuffed by the sergeant leading the search and arrest team.

Brown and the woman remained outside while the USG team entered the apartment to ensure that it was safe for the search and arrest team to enter. Mr. Haines agreed that their examination was uneventful.

Three members of the search team then went into the apartment with Brown and the woman. The fourth team member went in later.

Mr. Haines went in briefly and then went back outside. He said he became aware of Sheldon Brown being unwell, both from a report and from the noise he heard of someone vomiting.

At the end of the search, Brown was taken to the George Town Police Station. He was accompanied by the arresting sergeant and he was transported in the USG vehicle.

Mr. Haines said he did not see any of the USG officers in physical contact with the defendant.

He also explained that the four USG officers had been in training on 17 August at the firing range.

In cross-examination by Mr. Purnell, he agreed that, in hindsight, it was unfortunate that Brown had been transported to the police station in the USG vehicle that had arrived at his home with the armed officers.

Asked why, he said it was bound to bring up a possibility at this stage that there could have been cross contamination between the armed officers and the accused.

Mr. Purnell suggested that there could be not only the possibility of accidental contact with a firearm but also contact with the interior surface of the USG vehicle, which was likely to have gunshot residue inside.

Mr. Haines disagreed that it was likely, but said it was possible.

On 24 August 2004, when the defendant was charged, Mr. Haines said he was present. After Brown was cautioned he replied and Mr. Haines confirmed his words: ‘Jesus, Mr. Haines, God knows I didn’t do this. What is this, Mr. Haines? If I had done this I would have been wearing a mask and he would be dead.’

Another witness, a constable on the search team, told the court he found a blue T-shirt in a dirty laundry basket. The jury saw the shirt, with white lettering across the chest indicating the brand name. The jury had already heard from James Fernando Martin that the person who shot him was wearing a dark blue shirt.

Along with the shirt, the constable said he found a white T-shirt and a pair of red, white and black socks. He handled the items wearing latex gloves and put the items into exhibit bags, which he labelled and sealed with sticky tape. He recovered the items around 1.30 am and turned them over to an exhibits officer just over an hour later.

Other officers taking part in the arrest operation have given evidence as to their roles. In general, they have been asked if they had firearms on them at the time and when they had last discharged a firearm, if they had.