No evidence teen guilty of murder, says defence QC

| 10/06/2011

(CNS): The prosecutors did not place any evidence before the court that proves Jordon Manderson(18) killed Marcus Duran, his legal counsel told the judge on Thursday as he summed up his defence against the crown's case. David Fisher QC admitted that his client lied and that there may be suspicions about what he was doing that night but there was no evidence that the defendant was guilty of murder. The QC noted that there were myriad possible reasons why his client chose to lie, but the crown had shown no evidence of Manderson’s involvement in a joint enterprise organised by Raziel Jeffers and others to rob the numbers man. The lawyer said his client’s presence at the scene was not proof he killed Duran. (Photo courtesy of Cayman27)

The lawyer pointed out that even if the judge did not believe Manderson’s account of the night — that Andy Barnes or Damion Ming had shot him as he crouched on the stairs at Maliwinas Way — it still did not prove guilt on the teen’s part. The lawyer said there was no tangible evidence against him in relation to the shooting or that he was even involved in an organised conspiracy to rob Duran with Jeffers and others.

“What evidence is before you that you can commit to writing in your ruling to state that you are sure he is guilty of the joint enterprise to murder?” he asked the judge rhetorically, before addressing the crown’s circumstantial case against his client.

Fisher said the crown’s theory that Jeffers, Craig Johnson, Manderson and at least one other assailant were all at the scene together about to commit a joint enterprise of robbery fell apart because just as the crime was about to take place, Johnson and Jeffers were on the phone to each other chatting and Manderson was talking to his brother on his phone.

He also noted that while the phone evidence had connected Jeffers to Manderson, who were, the defendant admitted freely, good friends, and Jeffers to Johnson, there was no link between Johnson and Manderson in the phone records.

Manderson had given different accounts to the police and had lied about his behaviour that night, which gave rise to suspicion, but this was not evidence, the lawyer noted. He said the time lines did, however, support Manderson’s account and the contamination of the scene by so many people in the effort to save Duran’s life made the positioning of the bullets questionable.

He also said the tiny amounts of mixed DNA inside and outside the hat on the balcony, which there was no evidence either the deceased or the defendant had ever worn, was a mystery, but was more likely explained by secondary transfer and certainly not evidence of his client’s guilt. There was no evidence, the defence attorney emphasised, that Manderson had ever left his home armed with a gun to go commit a robbery at Maliwinas Way.

Despite witness evidence from Jeffers’ former girlfriend that he had told her to tell the police it was the Logswood Boys that shot Duran, there was no evidence that anyone had told Manderson to blame Barnes or Ming. The QC said that the alibi evidence for Ming and Barnes was also in question as there were inconsistencies. He said the alibi for Ming, who was killed two weeks after the Duran shooting, was given by his girlfriend, who would not be the first witness to attempt to protect the reputation of someone she loved even after death.

The QC listed a number of possible scenarios of the night in question and pointed out that any of them could be true or not, but when it came to an accusation of murder against his client it had not been proved. “The evidence just isn't there,” he noted as he said the crown's case was pieced together based on unproved theories of a conspiracy and asked the judge to return a not guilty verdict.

Justice Charles Quin is hearing the case alone without a jury and will be delivering a written ruling with his verdict, which is expected in around one week. Manderson remains in custody in Northward prison on remand, where he has been since he was arrested for the killing in March 2010 just before his seventeenth birthday.

Raziel Jeffers, who is also accused of killing Duran, as well as Damion Ming and Marcus Ebanks, was due to appear in court on Friday morning to settle a date for his trial, which has been delayed as a result of legal representation problems. 

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