Crown says ID of Peddie suspects is sound

| 06/07/2011

(CNS): The director of public prosecutions told the judge that the crown’s key witnesses to the gunning down of 25-year-old Alrick Peddie (left) was a solid identification. Cheryl Richards QC said on Tuesday that the witness had known all three defendants for some ten years and could see the men clearly through the windscreen of the car on what was a bright sunny day when they pulled up to the yard where Peddie was killed in March 2010.  As she submitted her closing speech at the end of the murder trial of Robert Bush, Jose Sanchez and Aaron Crawford, the country’s top prosecutor defended the credibility of Michael Ebanks, the crown’s sole and prime witness to the events leading to Peddie’s death.

Richards said the witness had not shied away from admitting his unsavoury past but there was nothing to suggest he was a member of a gang and he had no motive to fabricate evidence.

The DPP said the witness saw the men clearly and he knew who they were on the afternoon that the three defendants are said to have pulled up to Peddie’s grandmother’s the yard in Willie Farrington Drive, West Bay, at some speed before getting out of the car and shooting Peddie nine times in the back.

Richards told the judge, who is trying the case without a jury, that the witness had admitted he smoked ganja, admitted his life needed to change and admitted he had considered taking matters into his own hands in the wake of what happened to Peddie.

However, after speaking to family members he reconsidered and went to the police two days after the shooting and told them what, and more importantly who, he had seen, when he described the three defendants in the Red Honda civic who drove up that afternoon and got out of the car.

Although Ebanks had taken cover as he saw the men open the car doors and begin to get out and did not see the shooting, Richards said that given the collection of circumstances it was fair to infer that with his identification of the men’s arrival these were the three who had killed the 25-year-old security guard.

Ebanks was able to see all three men’s faces clearly, including Crawford who was sitting in the back seat but in the centre. The speed with which the car arrived had attracted his attention so he had stopped to look at who was in the car and as they came out of the vehicles before he fled, knowing something was amiss.

She said the witness described the act as taking no more than sixty seconds before the gunfire he heard died down and the car sped away again.  As there was no one else around, it was fair to infer that it was the three men who had shot and killed Peddie.

The supporting evidence for the crown’s case included Crawford’s DNA on the car, gunshot residue on the back seat, telephone evidence of the men’s location and interaction, the discovery of the stolen car by Crawford’s home and the fact that Bush had gone to Peddies’ wife’s home, somewhere he had never been before, to ask if he was dead the night after the shooting. She also said Sanchez’ efforts to hide from the police demonstrated a guilty mind.

The defence teams are expected to complete their closing presentations to the judge before he retires to consider his verdict, which is expected next week.

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