Trial set for Samuels’ murder

| 13/01/2010

(CNS): Three men are now set to face trial in the Grand Court on 10 May for the murder of Omar Samuels last July following their arraignment before Justice Charles Quin on Wednesday afternoon. Patrick McField (22), Osbourne Douglas (22) and Brandon Leslie (23) all pleaded not guilty when the indictment was read to them in open court. The charge relates to an incident on 5 July in McField Lane, George Town, when Samuels, who was shot in the leg, subsequently bled out and died from his injury. The shooting triggered what has been termed as a series of tit for tat gang murders that has claimed the lives of five young men in the last six months.

During the first hearing of the 2010 Grand Court session, Justice Quin heard a number of new cases and indictments sent up from summary court, including the arraignment of the three defendants, who were remanded in custody to Northward prison. He also heard the difficulties of three female defendants who had been committed to the Grand Court on conspiracy and perverting the cause of justice charges relating to the same murder case.

Defence attorney Ben Tonner, who was holding on behalf of other attorneys, explained to the judge that the women had been declined legal aid as the charges against them were not covered by the legal aid provisions set out for summary court. He asked Justice Quin to intervene as he said now their case was before the Grand Court there was provision under the legal aid rules to provide for their legal representation.

Tonner explained that one of the defendants had been remanded in custody and had lost her job as a result and was therefore in no position to cover her own legal expenses. “In my opinion, I can’t believe that these defendants have been denied legal aid given the circumstances,” he said, asking if the application could now be made to Justice Quin. The judge agreed and said he would ensure the issue was dealt with speedily.

The full details of the women’s connection to the murder case was not revealed in the mention, However, one of the defendants is the mother of Osbourne Douglas. The media had been ordered by the Chief Magistrate not to report on the Summary Court hearings related to the Samuels case because of questions regarding possible witness intimidation and threats to the defendants.

The charges against McField, Douglas and Leslie are the only ones that have been brought in connection to the five related shootings that occurred in 2009. No one has been charged by police in connection to the murders of Marcus Ebanks, Carlos Webster, Fabian Ried or Fabian Powell, the latest man to be found shot dead in the road near Welly’s Cool Spot only three days after Christmas.

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