Man acquitted over sibling shooting charge

| 02/08/2011

(CNS): Justice Charles Quin found Simon Jose Newball of Leafy Lane, George Town, not guilty of possession of an unlicensed firearm last week after he was accused of attempting to shoot his brother in October last year. The judge handed down the verdict after a short trial in crown court last month in which the prosecution had contended that Newball had shot at his brother five times with a handgun as a result of a family dispute. Newball denied the allegations saying not only did he not have a gun with which he had tried to shoot his brother, but that his brother had in fact come at him with a machete. In his ruling the judge said that the case depended entirely on the evidence given by Newball’s brother, the complainant Philip McLaughlin. 

However, he said he could find no evidence during the trial that either the complainant or the defendant had lied to the police or the court, but with two diametrically opposing accounts of what occurred on the evening of 24 October at Leafy Lane, one of them must not have told the truth.

McLaughlin had claimed that when he turned up at Leafy Lane following a distressed phone call from his mother, who lived there with his two brothers, Newball had shot at him several time. He told the court that Newball had taken a gun from his waist band, loaded it with two bullets and shot towards him but over his head. He then ran off and McLaughlin said he gave chase but did not catch his brother before he disappeared into the bushes off Walker’s Road. A little later after checking on his mother, McLaughlin claimed that as he returned to his truck he saw Newball again who fired more shots at him.

However, Newball said that this was not true and that when McLaughlin had turned up  he was carrying a machete and had chased after him hurling obscenities. Newball claimed that if he had a gun, as his brother claimed, he would not have had any reason to run. Giving evidence on his own behalf, he said he did not have agun and had not fired one. He also revealed that he and his brother didn’t talk and there were long standing problems between them.

The judge said that both men’s evidence was consistent throughout the trial, creating the problem of two completely conflicting accounts of the same incident. Justice Quin said he had to depend on other evidence which came from the police officer in the case and the mother of both of the men.

During his enquiries DC Berry could find no evidence of shots being fired or witnesses that heard shots on the Sunday evening in question near to the property where the two men lived and where the incident was alleged to have taken place. Although the defendant and his clothes were swabbed for gunshot residue, they were never sent for testing so there was an absence of any GSR to establish whether a gun was ever fired on the night in question in the location.

The mother of the two men, who was in a difficult position, the judge said, having to give evidence in a trial where one son was making a complaint about another, also stated that she did not hear gunshots that evening nor had she ever seen Newball with a gun.

In his ruling Justice Quin said he was “faced with two irreconcilable accounts of what happened,” but neither the evidence of Berry nor the brothers’ mother offered anything to corroborate the complainant’s account of the incident. The judge noted that the evidence did in fact tend to support the defendant’s account of the evening, so he felt bound to find the defendant not guilty.

Category: Crime

Comments (10)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I think the officer who collected the evidence & failed to send it in for testing should not only be fired but should appear in court for "withholding evidence" and charged accordingly. The supervisor / inspector of such officer should also be reprimanded for not carefully supervising & the prosecution should be reprimanded for not making sure suffecient evidence had been tested before going to trial.

    Come on people all of you (officers, inspectors, legal dept) get paid good money to do your job now let's start doing it! Stop making it easy for the criminals to get away with their crimes!

  2. Anonymous says:

    While my first two comments were not published by CNS, I've very happy that the public at large has picked up on ONE of the issues I did – the lack of completing the GSR testing on the swap(s) collected.  XXXXX

    CNS: You don't understand the role of the judge in the proceedings.

     

  3. Anonymous says:

    I taught both these guys in primary school. They were totally out of control even then but there was no intervention because everyone was in denial about such problems existing. Don't know about Philip, but Simon (we all knew him as Julio Newball in those days) has been in prison most of the time since he left school. One of many like him, I may add, but "no, we don't have these social problems". No one would claim that now.

    • Cayman, Dah wha unna get! says:

      Like you, I'm familiar with this family.  I went to social services many, many years ago in an attempt to alert someone of the issues the family was facing and that useless bunch down there at that time were NO help. They told me I was judgemental!!  I also spoke with someone in Gov school system and that too was dead end as the principal didn't even bother to return my calls.  I hope they all have improved since then but I doubt it. 

      When a family is in crisis they need to be helped and set straight. The social services, the school system and now the judicial system have all failed these individuals. Sad, very sad.  Does anyone remember they also reproduce and create more disfunction????

      This is exactly what happens when we (as a country or a family) are too proud to admit we have a problem.  But as the good book says, "the proud shall be humbled".  And Cayman is being humbled, no doubt about that!  Humbled by every forgotten, neglected or abused child, one by one by one by….

      Frustrated Caymanian!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Brilliant work by the RCIPS…  The defendant and his clothes were swabbed for gunshot powder residue but it was never sent in for testing!  And now we know why nobody has any faith in the RCIPS.  Common sense has never been the RCIPS' strong suit.  Enough said.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Great work!

    "swabbed for gunshot residue they were never sent for testing so there was an absence of any GSR to establish whether a gun was ever fired on the night in question in the location."

    ***Rolls Eyes***

  6. Wet Paper Caymanian says:

    "clothes were Swabbed for gunshot residue, but it was never sent" ??????????

    Another one again that did not complete the JOB for possible evidence !!!!!

     

    Common man !

  7. Anonymous says:

     

    I don't know the particulars of this case so not commenting on it – but I am noticing a pattern….

    I am wondering what the proportion of trials for murder and attempted murder actually result in a "Guilty" verdit?

    Either the police are rubbish at getting the right guy or they need more expertese in how to collect evidence without contaminating it.  Legal defence can even get a not guilty when there is an eye witness……something is not right with this picture.  We are falling short somewhere – I am just not sure where that is. 

    I am not getting any sense of confidence that murderers are being put in jail.  How many murders last year or this have actually resulted in a criminal being taken off the street and put away?