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High profile murder case off to a shaky start

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One of the most high profile murder cases to hit the High Court has gotten off to a teetering start.

On Monday, November 3, 2008, the murder trial of Peter “Kazaman” Joseph involving accused: Webster Woodley, Michael Samuel and Grenadian Sheldon Bain started promptly at 10am with a 12-member mixed jury consisting of five men and seven women.{{more}} However, a 10-minute adjournment had to be granted for the microphones to be fixed. After the break, evidence came from the deceased’s brother, Keith Joseph, and Corporal 599 Gregory Johnson.

Johnson told the court that on February 17, 2005, around 8:55pm, information was received concerning Selwyn “Thick Skin” Moses who was wanted by police for various offences. Johnson said that he and a party of Special Services Unit officers (SSU) went to Redemption Sharpes in the area of “Rocks.” He said Moses was spotted in the basement of a two-storey house and was shot and killed.

Johnson added that PC 566 Thaddeus McAllister handed over to him a nine-millimeter Uzi weapon, which he said was retrieved from Moses. Some issues were raised by the defence in relation to the handing over of the gun. The defence wanted the original deposition that was given by Johnson in the Preliminary stages of the trial.

Another fly in the ointment came when the deposition could not be located and the matter had to be again adjourned to 2pm that day. When the matter resumed, prosecutor Duane Daniel said the staff at the Director of Public Prosecutions (DDP) office was still looking for the deposition.

Counsel Nicole Sylvester said that she was highly disappointed at the state of affairs and said that it had been made clear at the start the matter that no more adjournments would be granted. The two other lawyers in the case, Stephen Williams and Kay Bacchus-Browne, also expressed their dissatisfaction.

Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle said he was growing tired of the delays and adjourned the matter to the following day for the deposition to be located and furnished to the defence.

In the evidence of PC McAllister, he told the court that he gave evidence at the P.I. stage on September 16, 2005. McAllister added that he didn’t write down anything in his official police pocket book at the scene because he didn’t have the book with him. He said he only wrote a statement after, which was dated November 16, 2007, two years after the crime.

Counsel Nicole Sylvester, under cross-examination, said that he concocted the statement because it was not he who retrieved the gun. McAllister told the court that he had made a mistake in the date and that he had submitted that statement a few days after the murder.

So far, five witnesses have been called to the witness stand to give evidence. The matter is still continuing at the High Court. (KW)