Identification evidence crucial, says crown

Suggestions are not evidence, jury reminded

The crucial issue in the murder
trial of three men accused of killing Omar Barton Samuels in July 2009 is
identification, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards told the jury Monday in her
closing address.

The Crown must make jurors sure
that Patrick McField, Osbourne Douglas and Brandon Leslie Ebanks acted together
in a common design and murdered Mr. Samuels on the night of 4 July, 2009.

Ms Richards said the Crown had
endeavoured to make the jurors sure by calling two eyewitnesses. If their
evidence was accepted, then the three defendants were placed at the scene, bent
on dealing with Mr. Samuels, and two of them had guns.

The jury has heard evidence that
Mr. Samuels was shot in an area behind the C and M Building in George Town that
he made his way around the front of the building and collapsed on the McField
Lane side about 1am. The witnesses said they were with Mr. Samuels at a house
with a porch and that he was sitting on the porch wall when three men came
around the corner. The witnesses saw the men at arms’ lengths away and caught
more than a fleeting glance.

She noted that jurors had to ask
themselves if the witnesses were being truthful and if so, were they reliable
and accurate or were they honestly mistaken. Witnesses can be judged by their
demeanour, how they speak, suggestions put to them and their responses, she
said.

Defence attorneys had suggested that
someone named Martin, whom the witnesses knew, put them up to pointing the
finger at the defendants. Both witnesses, teenage girls, denied that was the
case.

If they were making up a story, why
out of all the young men in Cayman were the defendants chosen? Why would one of
the girls name her own cousin? Why would the girls take on the difficult task
of blaming not one, but three men? “Suggestions are not evidence,” Ms Richards
emphasised.

She reminded the jury of a police
officer’s evidence that Douglas had suggested Martin might be a witness.
Douglas did not refer to Martin as a killer. If Martin were a witness, why
would he need to suggest anything to the girls?

Hostile witness Marcus Manderson
had told the court he did not remember saying in July 2009 that he saw Patrick
McField and Mr. Samuels engaged in what looked like an argument at Peppers
Night Club. Not until August 2010 did Mr. Manderson say that Mr. Samuels had
told him Martin shot him. The Crown suggested he was making this up.

If Martin were the shooter, why
didn’t the girls just keep silent? Ms Richards asked. “It’s a terrible thought
that they would pick up a suggestion and frame these young men,” she said. “Are
they capable of that?”

The girls were
scared, but had the courage to go to police and say what they saw, she
concluded. Any differences in their evidence showed independence of
recollection. Absence of agreement is not absence of truth, she said.

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