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'It's an injustice'

'Chucky' Brown's lawyer urges jury to return not-guilty verdict

BY TANESHA MUNDLE
Observer staff reporter
mundlet@jamaicaobserver.com

Thursday, November 08, 2018

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The defence team in the murder trial of Constable Collis “Chucky” Brown yesterday urged the jury to correct the injustice that has been done to the defendant and prevent further offence by returning a not-guilty verdict on all charges.

“You are judges of fact, your main function is to prevent injustice, and if injustice occurs before you acted, your duty is to correct it.

“The indictment on which Brown is charged is a golden opportunity for you to correct it. It cannot be conviction at all cost,” lead defence counsel Norman Godfrey said during his closing arguments in the Home Circuit Court yesterday.

Constable Brown, who has been in custody since January 2014, is being tried on three counts of murder in connection with the death of Robert “Gutty” Dawkins on January 10, 2009 and the killing of Andrew Fearon and Dwayne Douglas on December 13, 2012.

He is also being tried on charges of wounding with intent and conspiracy to murder.

Godfrey told the six-member jury that the proper procedures were not observed by the Independent Commission of Investigations (INDECOM) in its dealings with his client.

“The issue of impropriety and abuse reared its head very early,” he said.

He pointed out that INDECOM's Assistant Commissioner Hamish Campbell, during his testimony, said that when he met with Brown in the first meeting he knew that he was incriminating himself.

However, Godfrey said Campbell, being a constable with certain investigative powers, failed to give Brown the proper advice as required by law.

Instead, he said the assistant commissioner acted in a “reptilian” manner and secretly recorded what Brown was saying then.

“That's the characteristic of a snake,” Godfrey charged.

Further to that, he said the agency failed to live up the promise that it made to his client about sending him and his family overseas as he was most concerned about their safety.

“If a Government agency holds out a promise to an individual that agency is bound by decency to uphold that promise,” Godfrey said.

Furthermore, he said, “It's unchallenged that certain promises were made to Brown.”

The lawyer then told the jury that the prosecution had not properly presented its case.

He said the prosecution did not present one definite case, instead it presented more than one.

As it relates to the shooting death of Dawkins, he said, “In one version a Probox was used, in another instance a station wagon was used.”

“We must frown on the prosecution, we must register our disgust,” he added.

He told the jury that an individual who is charged must be aware of the case to which he is required to answer.

Additionally, Godfrey said the prosecution's case had discrepancies which had not been cleared up.

In the shooting death of Dawkins, he said the eyewitness testified that he was running away from the scene when he saw Brown pulling a mask over his head.

Godfrey, however, questioned how was he able to see Brown shooting Dawkins when he had been running away from the scene.

Added to that, the defence attorney said Brown was deprived of the opportunity to test the accuracy of the witness as it relates to identification, as no ID parade was held.

Also, he said the testimony from that same witness who reportedly saw Brown shooting Dawkins in his back was not supported by the forensic evidence, as it indicates that the shots were to the front of the man's body.

Consequently, Godfrey asked the jury to reject the testimony of that eyewitness.

“This witness is a total stranger to the truth; he is what one would call a liar,” he said.

Earlier in the proceedings, the prosecution completed its closing arguments in which it was highlighted that Brown's character witness, the former assistant commissioner of police, had totally destroyed his defence, where he claimed he had been acting on the order of his superiors in the shooting incidents.

“[The character witness] came and said that no senior officer has the right to issue an unlawful command, and that no junior officer must follow an unlawful command, and that there are things that they can do if they disagree,” said Queen's Counsel Caroline Hay.

She also told the jury that there was no evidence that Brown had resisted the command to commit murder.

On the double murder, she told the jury to reject Brown's defence that he fired at the men in self-defence, as in his interview with INDECOM he had stated that he was sent there by his superior to kill the men, and also that he had informed his superior about the plan to kill the men.

Additionally, she said the story that he gave INDECOM was supported by the police informant, who gave the reasons he had carried out the hit on the men as he recalled Brown telling him that Douglas had “dissed” (disrespected) his “don” and two of his bosses.

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