Ebanks takes stand and denies murder

| 10/09/2010

(CNS): Following the closure on Thursday morning of the crown’s case against Brandon Leslie-Ebanks, Osbourne Douglas and Patrick McField for the murder of Omar Samuels, the defence attorneys were given the opportunity to call witnesses. Attorneys for Douglas and McField opted not to do so, but Leslie-Ebanks took to the stand himself and also called two witnesses to vouch for his whereabouts on the night Samuels was killed. Leslie-Ebanks told the court he did not kill Samuels and repeated the same account of his activities that night as the one he had given to the police twice before. Despite being pressed by the solicitor general that he had shot Samuels, Ebanks said, “No ma’am I had no part in shooting anyone.”

The court heard that the only previous convictions the 24-year-old Leslie-Ebanks has had were one six week sentence for possession of ganja and a $150 fine for possession of a pocket knife. Leslie-Ebanks said he was a plumber by trade and has two young children — a daughter who is two and a half years old and a son who will have his second birthday tomorrow (10 September).
Asked questions by his attorney, Leslie-Ebanks said that on the night in question he visited his friend George Powell’s house, as was usual, played pool, dominoes and drank. At a few minutes before midnight he walked from Powell’s house in Central to Jah’t’s a few minutes walk away. On the way he admitted seeing Omar Samuels sitting in the porch area around Harlem with two men and a woman. Other than a passing hail, Leslie-Ebanks said they did not speak and he went on to the restaurant to buy food.
When he returned to Powell’s house with the roast conch purchased from Jah't’s, he followed the same route but did not see Samuels again. When he was close to returning to Powell’s, he passed Patrick McField in the Zodiac Bar and then later saw Douglas walk by Powell’s porch, where he was sitting eating food. He told the court he knew both McField and Douglas as they grew up together and had lived in the same area, but they were not tight. Although he said he had once been close with Douglas, they had an argument some years before over a girl and had not really hung out since. However, Douglas lived right by Powell so he often saw him.
After eating the conch at Powell’s, Leslie-Ebanks said his "baby-mother" had come to collect him and they had then driven on to Smith Cove, where they had argued for a while before she had taken him home. He said he learned about the shooting via his girlfriend, who received a call when they were at Smith Cove.
He denied having anything to do with the shooting and said he could not understand why the two witnesses would have identified him as knew neither of them. He said he knew who Martin Trench was but had never spoken with him or had any disagreement with the man.
During cross examination by Cheryl Richards, QC for the crown, despite her suggestions that he was there with a gun and had shot Samuels, he repeatedly denied having anything to do with the shooting.
Following Leslie-Ebanks' evidence, both George Powell and his girlfirend, were called to the stand by his attorney, and they corroborated Leslie-Ebanks' account of his whereabouts on the night Samuels was shot.  Richards accused them of making a false alibi with Leslie-Ebanks in order to help him but they both denied the accusation.
It was also revealed to the court that neither his girlfriend nor Powell ever spoke with Leslie-Ebanks following his arrest and before he gave his statement to the police, offering no time for the three to concoct a story.
Following the evidence given by the two alibi witnesses, the defence teams closed their cases and the trial will now move to hear closing arguments from all four legal defence teams. The solicitor general will begin her closing statement at 10:30am on Friday morning.
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