Witness accused of lies

| 18/01/2012

court good.jpg(CNS): The defence counsel representing Raziel Jeffers in his trial for the murder of Marcus Ebanks and the attempted murder of four other boys said the crown’s key witness in the case against him was lying. Peter Champagnie accused paraplegic teen, Adryan Powell, who was shot in the spine on the night of the killing, of being a witness of “untruth” as he crossed examined him on behalf of Jeffers. The defence counsel suggested that, given the lighting, the fact he was shot and lying on the ground face down bleeding from a wound in his face in poor light over five feet away, it was “nigh on impossible” for the teen to identify the gunman.

During his questioning of the young witness, who gave his evidence via video link, about the night he and his friends were gunned down outside a house in Bonaventure Road West Bay, on 8 July 2009, Champagnie pressed Powell about his failure to identify his client as the gunman until his third statement. The lawyer suggested that the witness had come with the extra details late in the day to bolster the lies he had made in his third statement.

He said his claims in court about the lighting that night that he could see “perfect like daylight” were different to the description in his statement of just one light pole illuminating the scene. The defence attorney queried the inconsistencies between the three statements Powell had given to the police during the week after the shooting and his evidence in court but the teen remained steadfast in his account.

“I seen his face,” Powell told the attorney. “I am 100 percent positive it was Raziel.”

Despite the probing by the defence counsel, the young teen did not waiver in his certainty that the gunman he saw was the defendant. The defence attorney accused the teen of lying over the length of time he claimed to know his client. Powell has said that he knew Jeffers for around two and a half years before the incident and had played in a football tournament with him and had watched him play football. 

However, Champagnie said that was a lie and he had never played with Jeffers. The lawyer also told the court that his client had been in custody for a “long time” prior to the shooting incident, only being released just over a year before his arrest in this case, so it was not possible for the witness to have known the defendant as long as he claimed.

During the questioning Powell maintained that Jeffers was the man who shot him. He told the court that he only remembered giving the police two statements and the court heard how the teenager was heavily drugged when he gave an account of the event in the immediate aftermath and again a few days later. So much so that he had to be assisted to sign his name at the bottom.

He told the court that he had been afraid to say who he had seen because he was worried that the man may come “and finish me off”. However, one week after the shooting when the teen learned that his close friend Marcus was dead and that he himself would be paralysed for the rest of his life, Powell said, “Then I never cared no more so I came forward.”

Champagnie said that this was the first time he had mentioned being afraid as he pointed to the third statement where Powell identified Jeffers for the first time one week after the shooting.

“I am suggesting you are a witness of untruth,” the lawyer said but the teen denied lying.

“I have no reason to lie,” he said. “Why would I put an innocent man in jail? It makes no sense,” he answered.

“You know the reason for that,” the lawyer concluded but did not indicate to the court the possible motive for Powell to lie.

As her son concluded his evidence, Powell’s mother, Tammy Tibbetts, was called to the stand and she recalled the harrowing night she got news of her son being shot. Having just arrived in Jamaica for a short break to celebrate her birthday, she revealed how she had begged and pleaded to get a flight back to Cayman.

Tibbetts also told the court how she had told her son of the death of his friend Marcus Ebanks when he had asked around 13 July and how a day or so later, on the 15 July, he had told her what he had seen that night. She said she then called the RCIPS so he could make his third statement.

She also confirmed that Powell had been extremely drowsy and heavily medicated when he made his first two statements to the police but much more alert when he gave the final account in which he identified Jeffers.

The case continues in court two on Wednesday morning with further crown witnesses from the scene of the shooting on 8 July.

Category: Crime

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