16-year old testifies at murder trial

Witness delayed going to police

Attorneys for the three men accused
of murdering Omar Barton Samuels on 5 July, 2009 spent most of Tuesday
questioning the Crown’s first witness, a girl of 16 who gave her evidence via
video link

Patrick McField, Osbourne Douglas
and Brandon Leslie Ebanks are accused of committing the murder together through
what Solicitor General Cheryll Richards referred to as common design.

The girl said she was talking with
Mr. Samuels when “the three boys”, whom she knew, came around the corner.
Douglas said a few words and McField told his companions “Unna deal with him”.
She said Douglas and Ebanks had guns. Those two and Mr. Samuels began fighting;
punching and kicking, and Mr. Samuels backed away and fell against a fence.
Then shots were fired. The girl said she and a friend who was with her ran from
the scene.

Questioned by Trevor Burke QC, who
represents McField, the girl said she did not tell her mother what she had seen
because she did not want to cause her stress. She did not tell the police
because she didn’t think it was necessary. She and the friend who had been with
her that night went to police on 29 July, 24 days after Mr. Samuels died,
because she said McField had threatened her and Douglas was coming around the

When it was suggested that she was
not at the scene and that a former boyfriend had told her what to say, she
denied that either was true.

Alistair Malcolm QC, who represents
Douglas, asked how she could identify one of the men as Douglas, since he had a
scarf around his face. She had said she saw the front part of him, his face and
his eyes. Questioned further, she said she recognised his voice.

Under questioning by Nicholas
Rhodes QC, who represents Ebanks, the girl said Mr. Samuels was alone when she
saw him. When the fighting began, Mr. Samuels was fighting the other two men
off, although he had only one hand. He did not draw a gun, she said. She told
the court she did not see Mr. Samuels get shot. Reminded that she had said in
the magistrate’s court she saw that they had shot him in his leg, the witness
said that was a misjudgement of her speech and she apologised for the misinterpretation.

When Ms Richards resumed
questioning, the girl said she had not had long conversations with Douglas, but
she knew his voice because she had heard him speaking to other people. She said
she did not have any reason to make up anything against the defendants.

The jury has heard that Mr. Samuels
was 28 and Osbourne Douglas is 23, but the ages of the other two defendants
have not been given.