Last minute witness called

| 08/09/2010

(CNS): Another teenage girl has now said that she also witnessed the murder of Omar Samuels in July of last year. The 17-year-old girl gave evidence from behind a screen during the trial of Brandon Leslie-Ebanks, Osbourne Douglas and Patrick McField on Tuesday saying she saw three men, two of whom were carrying guns, approach Samuels and shoot him at a house off McField Lane. The last minute witness said she was with her best friend that night, a girl who gave evidence at the opening of the trial. However, after she had given her account of the night’s events to the court it was revealed that this last minute prosecution witness had given a different account in her statement to police a few weeks after the crime than the one she gave to the court.

Although the crown had indicated on Monday that it intended to close its case against the three defendants with the reading of admissions, the jury was confronted with a new scenario when they arrived in the court on Tuesday morning.
The second teenage witness who said she was also at the scene of Samuels’ murder said recalled that she and her friend had encountered the deceased man on McField Lane at around 11:30pm on 4 July. She said they had been to visit a friend, who was not home, and were walking back toward the first witness’s home when they met Samuels.
The teenager said the two girls walked back with Samuels to the house they had just left, and sat with him there for a short time. Three men then appeared, two of whom were armed with guns, and they began arguing with Samuels. She said she only recognised one of the men, whom she knew as Patrick, as she did not know the other two, although during her narrative she said they were named Brandon Leslie and OsbourneDouglas.
She said the men were arguing with Samuels over something he had done at a club with Patrick, and then a man with a scarf pulled out a gun from his waist and began waving it around. Then the second man, who was wearing a hat, pulled out his gun. Samuels walked towards them and then the men started shooting at him by the fence.  She told the court the men were all close by each other when the gun was fired.
The court heard that the witness and her friend had hidden by the side of the house and the Laundromat but then ran away as more shots were being fired. A few minutes later, she said, they saw the three men jump over the wall and run away through a parking lot.
After the incident, the teenager said she saw Brandon Leslie riding by her friend’s yard, where she was living at the time, on a number of occasions. Eventually, the two teenagers went to the police to report what they had seen as she said they were scared.
However, it was revealed that the teenager did not identify either McField or Douglas when she went to the police station, only the man she came to know as Brandon Leslie, a name she learned, she admitted, from her friend. She had also described Leslie in her statement as having twists in his hair but then in court said he was wearing a hat. It was also revealed that when she made her original statement to the police she had told them she only heard the gun shots but had not seen the men fire the guns.
The teenage girl also admitted knowing Martin Trench, the man whose palm print was found at the scene, as he was a friend of hers but she said she did not know that he had also been the boyfriend of her best friend.  The witness also denied speaking to the crown’s main witness this week and said no one had told her what to say. The teenager said she was telling the truth about what had happened that night.
Further police witnesses were also called on Tuesday and the court heard that during the night before he was shot, Samuels had reportedly approached six other people who say he had threatened them when he was armed with a gun.
Following the last live witnesses to be called by the crown the prosecution read a number of admissions agreed between the two teams of lawyers related to the various evidence sent for DNA analysis before the court was adjourned.
The judge will hear legal arguments this morning, Wednesday, in the absence of the jury before the crown is expected to formally close its case and make way for the defence on Thursday.
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