‘Lies’ but ‘no evidence’

| 02/04/2014

(CNS): The defence attorney representing Raziel Jeffers in the murder trial for the killing of Damion Ming pointed out to the jury that there was no forensic evidence and no witnesses that say his client was guilty. He said that the crown’s key witness had lied and the alleged confession that she said he made ‘lay in the gutter’ with the crown’s case, as there was nothing to corroborate her lies. Michael Wolkind, QC, pressed home the position that the witness had made up the damning allegations as a campaign of revenge against Jeffers because he had rejected her and because she had profited from the witness protection programme.

He told the jury that the crown’s telephone evidence proved nothing and merely demonstrated that on the night of the killing Jeffers was in the district at places that were in no way unusual. He described a catalogue of conflicting evidence as well as the fact that Ming was a marked man as a result of his gang and criminal affiliations.

Wolkind dismissed the evidence that Jeffers was the only person to call one of the men present at the crime scene in the immediate wake of the killing after another witness had overheard that same individual say that the killer had just called to see if Ming was dead.

The defence attorney also made much of the conflicting evidence of a witness who said there were two men who ran past a nearby property before and after the shooting and sped away in a light coloured car. He pointed to the possibility of two guns being fired and that although the idea of two men had persisted throughout the enquiry, the police had conducted a very poor investigation and failed to follow up on various witnesses who had also claimed to see two gunmen. He said Earl Ebanks, who had seen the bicycle, whom he discredited as a drug user, had seen the gunmen and he had lied about their identity and made up the story of the bicycle.

Wolkind saved his worst criticisms, however, for the crown's key witness. He said her alleged confession was nothing more than rumour and speculation and what details she had related to the police about the circumstances of Ming’s demise were well known and she could easily have picked it up on the marl road.

Much of what she said, Wolkind told the jury, was not corroborated in any way, as he said her claims that Jeffers had spoken with someone inside HMP Northward to get permission to use the gun to kill Ming, that the weapon had been hidden in the yard of his friends, Jordan and Justin Manderson, or that he wore a “ninja suit”, were among the many lies she told for which the crown could not find support.

He said she was bent on a campaign of revenge as a result of the accumulation of anger and resentment she felt and, as the old saying goes, the lawyer told the jury, “no campaign, no gain”.

Wolkind impressed upon the jury the need for his client to have a fair trial andthat he could not be convicted on past crimes. He also said that Jeffers had an absolute right to protest his innocence regarding his previous murder conviction, as Wolkind stated miscarriages of justice were very common. He accused the crown of focusing on that conviction to undermine Jeffers’ hopes of a fair trial.

Wolkind said the crown’s case against his client was built on the word of an angry ex that constantly changed her story and made lies up on the spot. He described her as an “easy, quick and natural liar,” out for what she could get.

He said the jury had to decide the verdict but there could be no guilty verdict on that witness's evidence as her confession “lay in the gutter with the crown’s case”. Wolkind said there was no magic dust to sprinkle over the case to revive it to make the jury sure.

He told the jury not to buy the lies of the witness in a case where there was no proper evidence. He emphasised what he said was the issue that had demonstrated that the witness was lying, as there was no telephone record that matched the sequence of calls that she claimed had taken place between herself, Jeffers and his aunt before the couple met at Ocean Club and where the alleged confession was made.

“To convict, you will have to forget about her story being disproved,” he said, adding that they would also have to dismiss the other evidence, such as the car and the two men, and follow the establishment’s way of dealing with evidence to find that which it can mould to its perceived case and ignore all the rest.

“Can you forgive the prosecution for avoiding evidence?" he asked, before he finished his closing speech defending his client’s innocence.

The case adjourned Tuesday afternoon and will resume Wednesday morning, when Justice Malcolm Swift will sum up the evidence and direct the jury on the law before they are released to begin their deliberations. The five women and seven men will be required to deliver a unanimous verdict.

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