Attempted murder charge dismissed

Shooting victim loses memory

After a woman who was shot in the
face said she had lost her memory, Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale ruled
there was insufficient evidence to commit Royden Robinson to stand trial for
attempted murder.

In addition to no witness evidence,
there was no forensic evidence tying him to the shooting of Sandra Connor on
Friday afternoon, 5 March, outside Barnes Plaza on Mary Street, the magistrate
said, so the defendant was discharged and free to go.

Crown Counsel Candia James called
Ms Connor to give evidence when the preliminary inquiry began on Thursday
before the lunch adjournment. Ms Connor told the court, “I don’t want to
proceed with this case.”

The magistrate explained that she
would have to say so on oath.

After she was sworn and asked about
the incident, she said “I do not wish to proceed with this case any longer
because I do not know who shot me.” She agreed she had given a statement to
police, but explained “When I got shot I lost my memories, so I don’t know who
shot me.”

Asked if she would like to refresh
her memory from her statement, she said she did not remember anything from the
time she got shot in the face.

Ms James applied to the court to
treat the witness as hostile. Defence Attorney Nicola Moore objected, saying
the witness had shown no hostile animus: “She falls far short of unmistakable
signs of hostility.”

Ms James pointed out that Ms Connor
had refused to refresh her memory. Invited by the magistrate to continue, Ms
James began quoting portions of Ms Connor’s statement.

The witness agreed to the first
portion, then said she could not recall the next portion. “I lost my memories.
I’m not functioning good, miss,” she said.

Ms James began asking her about her
inability to recall.

“You’re trying to force me to
recall – I can’t recall,” she stated. “The police force me to say these things
– say they will send me to England to get my mouth fixed. I say the person [who
shot me] had a mask on. I told them that.”

Questioned further, she maintained
she did not remember. She began breathing heavily and was bent over in the
witness chair, with her head almost between her knees. She was observed to be
sweating, although the courtroom was cool.

The magistrate asked a court
marshal to assist her and Ms James said she had no further questions.

“Are you feeling all right?” Ms
Moore asked. The witness replied, “No.”

The magistrate directed the marshal
and a female police officer to assist Ms Connor from the witness box. The
officer was directed to take Ms Connor to the hospital.

Ms Moore said she wished to put on
record that the Crown has a duty to its witnesses. It may be that the Crown had
precipitated Ms Connor’s unwellness by forcing her to take part in the procedure,
she suggested.

The magistrate asked Ms James to
monitor Ms Connor’s condition.

After lunch, Ms James reported that
she had been in contact with police, who said Ms Connor had walked out of the
hospital and refused to come back to court.

On that basis, the magistrate said
there was insufficient evidence to commit the defendant to Grand Court.
Robinson, 32, had been charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm in
addition to the attempted murder.

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