Gun man caught holding weapon, court hears

| 30/05/2013

(CNS): After a number of delays and false starts as a result of difficulties with legal representation, the crown’s case against Leighton 'Cookie' Rankine for attempted murder as well as possession and unlawful use of an unlicensed firearm, began Monday. Rankine is alleged to have shot a man in February of last year during an altercation near the Club 7 nightclub on the West Bay Road. 35 year old Rankine faces significant evidence against him in a case led by the Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Ricahrds QC. In a judge alone trial, acting Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop heard that Rankine was holding the weapon when the police arrived on the scene.

During his evidence in chief, lead prosecution witness and authorized firearms officer, PC Derron Campbell, told the court that when he arrived on sceneRankine was pointing the gun towards his victim Mitchell Wright who was in turn holding Rankine in a head lock trying to avoid gunfire.

The police had responded to the scene after hearing a single gunshot fired in the area of the Club 7 parking lot. PC Campbell said when he arrived at the scene he instructed the men to stop fighting and show their hands but was unsuccessful.

The crown witness told the court that Wright was exclaiming that he'd been shot by the man whom he was fighting with. PC Campbell said he had assertively told Rankine to drop the gun and show his hands numerous times before the armed man eventually threw the gun into the bush hedge. At that point, the officer dragged Wright away from Rankine. 

As he did so however, an angry crowd had gathered around the scene and one person attacked Wright while he was being taken by the PC. The court heard that the situation got out of hand so the officer was forced to use pepper spray to calm the crowd down. Having hit Wright in the process Campbell flushed his eyes with a bottle of water during what had become a chaotic scene.

In addition, the police officer also stated that Wright had managed to kick Rankine in his face as he pulled them apart and as a result both men were escorted to the George Town Hospital to treat their injuries.

Rankine, who is defended by local attorney Clyde Allen led by Alastair Malcolm fom the UK, has denied the allegations and the trial continues this week in court 5.

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