Cap row leads to jail time for WB man

| 27/01/2014

(CNS): A West Bay man was found guilty last week of shooting at a neighbour over a missing cap by a visiting judge, who presided over the case without a jury. Convicted of possession of an imitation firearm with intent, common assault and threats to kill in relation to an incident last August, Shane Bodden will be looking at jail time but he has escaped the mandatory minimum ten years for possession of an unlicensed firearm. Although Justice Carol Beswick was convinced by the evidence of the complainant that he was shot at by Bodden, neither the weapon nor any bullets were ever recovered and his victim received only a scratch, leaving no evidence that what Bodden used was a lethal, working gun.

Bodden had denied the charges, saying he was not there at the time. Although he chose not to take the stand on his own behalf, his long-time girlfriend appeared as a defence witness and testified that he was with her and their children on the night in question.

Nevertheless, the judge said that she was not convinced by that evidence, coming as it did from someone who admitted to being his common law wife for some eleven years and who denied discussing the matter with her boyfriend, which the judge found difficult to believe. 

The judge noted that the witness was awaiting sentencing herself, having recently been convicted of forgery related offences. Although she has never been convicted of perjury, when the issue of her dishonesty was raised during cross examination, the judge stated that the witness’ demeanour changed considerably and concluded in her verdict that she was not a forthright witness.

The judge said the complainant, Joseph Ebanks, was still “coherent and clear” when he gave his evidence, despite admitting to having some drug and alcohol problems in the past and that he had consumed a little beer, ganja and some cocaine earlier on the day that he was shot at. In her verdict Justice Beswick accepted his evidence as truthful. She said the evidence satisfied her “so that she was sure of unlawful violence and hostile intent” in the altercation between the two men which resulted in Bodden producing a firearm and shooting at Ebanks.

The incident had taken place at an unoccupied house in West Bay that belonged to Ebanks' father, who is now unable to get about and is living at another location nearby.

However, as a family property, Ebanks said he would check the house when he went to visit his father as he believed people had been breaking in. On the night in question he found Bodden on the premises at about 8pm, having apparently broken the padlock to get inside. Although he left after an argument, Bodden later returned to the property. When Ebanks was making a final check, as he was planning to leave he encountered Bodden again.

According to Ebanks, Bodden accused him of stealing his cap and despite his denials and protestations, Bodden threatened to shoot him if he did not return it. Declaring that he was prepared to shoot him, Ebanks said Bodden pulled out a black gun and fired at him. Having ducked and turned however, whatever was fired from the weapon skimmed Ebanks’ shoulder, leaving a small graze.

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Category: Crime

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