QC:Jeffers guilty not unlucky

| 01/04/2014

(CNS):Andrew Radcliffe, QC, told the jury not to leave their common sense behind when they considered their verdict in the crown's case against Raziel Jeffers for the murder of Damion Ming in West Bay in March 2010. Laying out the evidence in his closing speech to the five women and seven men, the prosecutor said that the defendant was either guilty or the unluckiest man in the world who was the victim of a list of shocking misfortune and horrible coincidences. He said however, that the circumstances the defendant found himself in had nothing to do with bad luck, but it was because there was conclusive evidence that pointed to his guilt and the jury could be sure he had murdered Ming.

Reviewing the prosecution's case and the defense response to it, the crown's leading counsel said that the principle witness in the case, Jeffers' former girlfriend, was important but it wasn't the only evidence against the defendant as his guilt was apparent from other corroborating evidence that could not be explained away.

Although the revelations about Jeffers' conviction for murder, attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm as well as past violent offenses was not evidence against him and had nothing to do with this case, Radcliffe said, despite being fairly convicted Jeffers continued to deny the allegations and insist he was falsely accused. This, he said, demonstrated Jeffers' inability to take responsibility for anything.

If Jeffers was not guilty, he said, then by his account it meant that he was for the second time being falsely accused of murder and was facing a list of coincidences as well as a revenge attack from a malicious witness, who had managed to guess accurately a number of things she could never have known as part of her campaign against him because he did not want to be in a relationship with her.

Radcliffe said that if Jeffers was not guilty, it would mean that not only were the police locking him up for killing his friend, but in a terrible coincidence, he had travelled back to West Bay on the evening of the killing and was just streets away when the murder took place. He said it would also mean that he left the area, by coincidence, just after the crime, and literally disappeared from the cell phone radar in a move, which was out of character for him, by yet further coincidence, for more than fifteen hours after the crime.

If Jeffers was not guilty, he said, it was just another horrible unfortunate coincidence that calls he made on his phone were to people at the crime scene just minutes before and minutes after the murder, when he had rarely called those people as a rule.

Worse, one of those calls was to a man known to be at the murder scene who was overheard by another witness stating that the gunman had called to see if "he was dead" just minutes after the shooting, and at the exact same time that the man's cell phone records demonstrated that the only person he had spoken to at that time was Jeffers.

In addition to his movements, tracking him to and from the crime scene and his calls to people at the location, the lawyer pointed to the evidence from his former girlfriend. He stated that she had given the police a detailed account of a confession that Jeffers made to her about killing Ming, the man he believed had been her lover.

The account was such, Radcliffe told the jury, that she could have onlyheard it from the killer and that for her to manage to maliciously guess or invent and piece together such accurate detail that turned out to be correct was impossible. He said her account was backed by the ballistic's evidence, the medical evidence and by other witnesses at the scene.

He described Jeffers as a controlling, sex-obsessed, lazy hypocrite who was incapable of taking responsibility for his actions. Jeffers, he said, was lying when he said he cared nothing about his former girlfriend, with whom he had never had a proper relationship, but he was consumed with jealousy and anger that  she had, so he believed, chosen to have an affair with Damion Ming of all people. Jeffers saw the mother of his child as his possession that had no right to be with anyone else, regardless of his own affairs, Radcliffe said.

Despite claiming Ming was not an enemy and making efforts to distance himself from the gang rivalry in West Bay, he had slipped during his time giving evidence when he had made it clear that he felt Ming was not hanging in the Logwoods area but with the Logwoods gang, and although he said Ming was his friend, he didn't go to his funeral and admitted that in the wake of the shooting he had expected the police to arrest him for the murder.

He said that Jeffers' attempts to portray himself as a kindly benefactor trying to help his former girlfriend who was the mother of his child with whom he did not have a relationship, were lies. He pointed out the constant phone contact between them, how they had lived together and how she had gone with Jeffers every time he moved. He said his family had described it as a relationship, and shortly before the murder they had spent at least a week staying as a family for a holiday at his aunt's home in Ocean Club.

Addressing Jeffers' claims, supported by his aunt, that the couple were not at her apartment the weekend after the murder, when the crown's key witness claimed Jeffers made the damning confessions, he pointed to the telephone evidence. Radcliffe said that not only were their phones both using the exact same cell site for the entire weekend, the claims made by Jeffers that he was with another girlfriend were drawn into question owing to the extensive number of calls between the two of them, which suggested they were not together and accounted for all the telephone traffic.

He also dismissed claims by the defense that the key witness had lied for personal gain. Radcliffe pointed out that in four years she had cost the government around $80,000 to keep her in witness protection, which included her travel to and from the jurisdiction for the court case, equating to no more than $20,000 per year. He pointed out that she would not be supported financially forever by government and was expected to soon be self-sufficient. The lawyer said she had left the jurisdiction where her friends and family were and would now spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder.

Radcliffe told the jury that they must judge the case on the evidence and that the choice was simple: either he was guilty or seriously unlucky. But luck was not the factor, as he said the evidence was conclusive and the men and women tasked to decide could be sure of his guilt.

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