Senior cop freed in Boulevard murder case, corporals' fate still uncertain
Barbara Gayle, Justice Coordinator
A Home Circuit Court jury has freed Assistant Superintendent Victor Barrett in the Boulevard murder case.
In the meantime, Justice Horace Marsh has ordered the jurors to reconsider their opinions after arriving at a guilty verdict by a majority of 9-3 for Corporal Paul Edwards, while there was a hung jury in relation to co-accused Corporal Louie Lynch.
The cops who are attached to the Organised Crime Investigation Division (OCID) were on trial for the murders of two men who were abducted from a plaza on Washington Boulevard, St Andrew on December 23, 2004.
The 12-member jury deliberated for four hours and 55 minutes before returning the verdicts in the murders of 20-year-old apprentice mechanic, Kemar Walters of Kitson Town, St Catherine; and 44-year-old shopkeeper and blockmaker Oliver Duncan of Olympic Way, Kingston 11.
The men were allegedly found in possession of a stolen blue Honda CR-V when they were arrested.
Barrett was charged because the Crown alleged that he covered up the murder after a report was made to him.
The Crown’s main witness, a former policeman, said he was at the plaza when the men were taken away.
He said later in the day Edwards told him that the men were shot and killed.
The witness said he had told Barrett about the matter.
He also said he was present when the Honda CR-V was set ablaze near in a deserted area off the Port Royal Main Road.
He also testified that he decided to tell the truth after he was taken into custody in connection with the disappearance of the men.
However, the accused policemen, in unsworn statements from the dock, said they were innocent.
They said they were never at the plaza on the day of the incident.
Senior Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Dirk Harrison, in addressing the jury, had said the policemen crossed the line and breached the motto of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, ‘To Serve, Protect and Reassure’.
Harrison further said that Walters and Duncan were treated unfairly and did not deserve to lose their lives.
Defence lawyers Valerie Neita-Robertson and Deborah Martin in addressing the jury described the prosecution's main witness as a liar and asked the jury not to believe what he told them.
Neita Robertson described the prosecution’s main witness as being clever as a fox and asked the jury not to be outfoxed by him.
She described the witness as the mastermind behind the plot and asked the jury to find that when he said he went to Wareika Hills on December 23, 2004, it was to dispose of the bodies.
Neita Roberston also said the witness was untruthful and that he who would have done anything to get out of the situation he was in after he was taken into custody in connection with the disappearance of the men.
Queen’s Counsel Churchill Neita, who represented Barrett, described the witness as a modern-day Ananias and pointed out that his testimony was saturated with falsehood.
Neita said the former deputy commissioner of police Mark Sheilds was the man who sided with the main witness in a dark and damnable conspiracy against the accused men.
Attorneys-at-law Oswest Senior Smith and Michelle Cousins also represented Barrett.
But Justice Horace Marsh in his summation which began on January 3, told the jurors that they should decide the case only on what had been placed before them and to assess it only on what they have heard in the courtroom.
He pointed out that the accused cops had a legal right to give their statements outside of the witness box and told the jury that it could not be used against them.