Victim claims he was shot over missing hat

| 16/01/2014

(CNS): A West Bay man told the court Wednesday that he was shot at over a cap last August, when he escaped with just a graze on his shoulder because he had ducked after the man accused of shooting him opened fire. Shane Bodden, who has been charged with threats to kill, wounding and possession of an imitation firearm with intent in connection with the allegation has denied being the alleged shooter and accused the complainant of making up the story to keep him away from his property. However, Joseph Ebanks was emphatic that Bodden was the man who threatened and shot at him when he found the defendant on his property.

Ebanks insisted that Bodden had accused him of stealing his cap and demanded its return, otherwise he would shoot him, which, he claimed, is what happened.

Relating the events of the evening of 27 August last year, Ebanks told the court that he had gone to visit his father. While he was there he had also checked on the family home next door, which was unoccupied at the time, but he was aware that people had been breaking the locks to get in. When he checked at around 8pm, he found Bodden there and the men had engaged in an argument before Bodden left. Ebanks then visited his father but at around 11:45pm he went back to the unoccupied house to check again and once again ran into Bodden outside the house.

He said Bodden was threatening towards him and had demanded his cap, as he accused Ebanks of taking it, something Ebanks said he knew nothing about. Ebanks described Bodden’s demeanour as threatening and “very serious” and said he came towards him “eyes blazing” as he demanded the cap and threatened to shoot him.

The witness stated that after Bodden made the threats he pulled out a black gun with a long muzzle and said, "I will shoot you; don’t think I won’t shoot you!" and then he fired the weapon. Ebanks said he ducked and turned and as a result the bullet grazed his shoulder. He said Bodden then took off behind the house and he went to call the police.

Although officials could not confirm that Ebanks’ wound was the result of a gunshot and only one particle of gunshot residue was found on him, the expert witnesses could not rule outthat he was shot, the court heard.

However, during cross examination Fiona Robertson, defence attorney for Bodden, accused Ebanks of making up the story of being shot as a way to get Bodden locked down because he was fed up of catching him on his property. She said accusing Bodden of shooting him was a way for Ebanks to achieve that end.  If Ebanks was actually shot at all, the defence said, it was not by Bodden, who did not return to the property that night.

Ebanks insisted that this was not the case, as he emphatically declared, “It was Shane Bodden that shot at me with a gun.” The witness said he would never have done anything to harm Bodden if he had not shot at him.

Although Ebanks admitted to consuming a small amount of alcohol and some drugs earlier that day, he denied being “fuelled with alcohol and drugs” and making up the story, as suggested by the lawyer. He said he was not mistaken over who shot him and insisted that Bodden shot at him with his right hand.

Although the defendant is left handed, Ebanks, who said he had known Bodden since he was around 12 years old, said he was ambidextrous and could use both hands.

Issues over lighting at the time of the incident brought the case to adjournment, however, as the court heard that the crime scene pictures had been taken by the police during the day.

As a result of the failure of the officers on the case to collect evidence relevant to the time of the crime, arrangements were made for an officer to return to the scene to take picture at night so the court could have a more accurate picture of the levels of lighting around the unoccupied property to judge the circumstances under which the witness was identifying the defendant.

The case continues at 10am on Thursday morning and Bodden was remanded in custody.

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