Lawyer attacks credibility of key witness

| 17/08/2011

(CNS): The character and credibility of Andy Barnes, the father of four-year-old Jeremiah Barnes, who was killed in a shooting at a West Bay gas station last year, came under attack on Tuesday as John Ryder QC accused him of pointing the finger at his client for the killing, even though he did not have any real opportunity to see who the gunman was as he had claimed. Ryder suggested that Barnes had a violent nature and, as a result, there were many people in Cayman who might want to kill him. The defence attorney said that Barnes had deliberately singled out Devon Anglin as the gunman in an act of revenge as he believed that he was responsible for the death of one of Barnes’ close friends.

The child’s father wassubjected to a lengthy cross-examination from Anglin’s UK-based defence attorney and spent the entire day on the witness stand. Barnes, who is currently in custody on firearms related offenses, denied that there were lots of people seeking to kill him or that he had made threats to anyone. He insisted that the only person who seemed to want him dead was Anglin and he had seen him clearly on the night his son was shot at the Esso station in West Bay on 15 February 2010.

Going through Barnes’ evidence in chief, Ryder pointed out that he had described to the police the exact clothing worn by Anglin earlier that day when the two men had seen each other by chance, when he had given his statement about the gunman in the wake of the shooting. The lawyer noted, however, that the CCTV evidence later revealed that the shooter was actually wearing completely different clothes. 

“What you have done is taken the clothes Devon was wearing that day when you saw him and then put them on the gunman,” the lawyer suggested to Barnes, who replied, “No, sir.”

The lawyer pointed out discrepancies between the evidence Barnes gave in court and the earlier statements and deposition given at the preliminary enquiry. He said Barnes had only stated in court that the gunman was still fixing his mask or bandana when in previous statements he had said the gunman’s face was not covered and he had seen Devon Anglin. The lawyer pointed out that the CCTV shows a masked man firing on the Barnes' car.

As he pressed the witness, Ryder suggested that everything had happened far too fast and there was no real opportunity for Barnes to have seen who the gunman was or the details of his face as Barnes had said in his evidence.

“You were determined to point the finger at Devon Anglin and you did not see the details of the gunman,” Ryder suggested during his cross-examination, adding that he had seen nothing more than a fleeting glance of the shooter. “I seen more than that, sir,” Barnes said as he insisted that the gunman was the defendant.

Barnes admitted that he believed Anglin had killed Carlos Webster in a nightclub in 2009 but he denied that he was accusing him of his son’s murder for that reason. He said that he had seen the gunman on the night his son was killed and it was Devon Anglin.

Throughout the cross-examination Ryder challenged Barnes over his history, threats he had suggested Barnes had made to others, and his criminal record. Barnes denied making threats to anyone, including the threat he reportedly made in the court house to Jordan Manderson in front of a police officer. He also said that since his son was killed, Justin Manderson had tried to kill him because he was the cause of his cousin – who is Devon Anglin — being in jail.

However, throughout the cross-examination Barnes stuck to his version of events in connection with the night of the shooting, insisting that Anglin was the gunman. But after several hours standing in the witness box he became angry with the lawyer as he questioned him intently about other events and discrepancies in his statements and evidence.

“I shouldn’t be going through this kinda crap,” Barnes said. “I’m not the one on trial for murder.” When pulled up by the judge, Barnes said he was going through a lot. The judge acknowledged his loss but said it was no excuse as he reassured him that no lawyer would be permitted to take advantage of him.

During his probing Ryder sought to bring to the attention of the judge, who is trying the case alone, the possibility that Barnes could have deliberately pointed the finger at Anglin because of the animosity between the two men, who were once close friends. He also pressed the point that Barnes had a chequered past, which, although this was denied by the witness, had included threats to other people. He also pushed the issue that Barnes believed his friend Carlos had been killed by Anglin, which was motive to try and blame him for the death of his child.

The trial continues Wednesday with the next crown witness.

Category: Crime

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