Justice Francis Belle was expected to address the jury on Monday morning in the trial of two men who have pleaded not guilty to possession of unlicensed firearms.
Gerald Jaleel Bush, 21, and Rico Roy Walton, 29, are charged with possessing two handguns – a 9mm Trabzon and a Colt .45 loaded with six rounds. The firearms were found by police in the roots of the “shoe” tree along the coast in South Sound in the early hours of Sunday, June 25, 2017.
The defendants had been in a boat outside the reef and had come back through the South Sound channel. They later told police they had gone to fish in the waters off Pedro Castle but had forgot their bait and so had come back.
Mr. Bush said he disembarked near Old Crewe Road to walk to a nearby gas station to buy bait, but then realized he did not have his wallet and so began walking toward the South Sound dock instead, where his truck was parked.
Mr. Walton, who was seen by the police helicopter camera coming ashore before getting back in the boat and going to the dock, said he had stopped to hide the ganja he had with him. He denied having any guns or putting them near the shoe tree. After his evidence last week, his employer came to court as a character witness and said that Mr. Walton was very reliable, very respectful and showed a lot of dedication to his job.
That was the end of the evidence and speeches by attorneys began Thursday afternoon.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran told jurors that events which gave rise to the charge had begun before officers in the police helicopter saw the men in a boat in South Sound minutes before midnight.
Mr. Moran pointed to an image of a gun stored in Mr. Bush’s cellphone on Wednesday, June 21, 2017. A forensic expert identified 11 unique points in comparing the image with a picture of one of the guns found.
Mr. Moran asked what were the odds of Mr. Bush receiving a picture of one of the guns found on the night of his arrest and found in the same tree toward which Mr. Bush was walking that night.
He agreed that coincidences do happen and said it was a matter for the jurors whether they accepted the expert’s evidence. He reviewed phone messages in the days before June 25, which Mr. Bush said were about car parts.
He reminded jurors of the defendants’ evidence in court as it compared with their police interviews.
Attorney Jonathon Hughes spoke for Mr. Bush and attorney Oliver Grimwood for Mr. Walton. Both of them referred to a lack of forensic evidence, such as fingerprints. The guns had been found in a sock and there was DNA of at least two persons on the guns and three persons on the sock. But the DNA was from other people, not Mr. Bush or Mr. Walton. “You’re perfectly entitled to ask yourself why,” Mr. Hughes said.
He pointed out that the boat the men were on had a GPS (Global Positioning System) but examination showed it had not been used since January 2017. He asked how that affected “the Crown theory that there was some meet-up in the middle of the ocean.”
He pointed out that the jurors were not being asked if Mr. Bush was a good guy or if they liked him. Mr. Hughes said if they applied the evidence that was relevant, they would find that the Crown had fallen short in proving the case.
Mr. Grimwood put the Crown’s burden of proof a different way. He agreed that his client was in the dock – “But it’s the Crown’s case that is on trial.”
Justice Belle’s address will sum up the evidence and instruct the jury on the law and legal principles that apply.