Ex­plor­ing the X6 trial

The Star (Jamaica) - - FRONT PAGE -

The case dubbed the X6 mur­der trial has gen­er­ated great pub­lic in­ter­est, es­pe­cially since the taxi driver, who was the al­leged sole eye­wit­ness for the prose­cu­tion, failed to iden­tify the ac­cused busi­ness­man Pa­trick Pow­ell as the per­son who fired the fa­tal shot.

The prose­cu­tion had to of­fer no fur­ther ev­i­dence be­cause it was re­ly­ing solely on iden­ti­fi­ca­tion ev­i­dence to prove its case against Pow­ell, who was charged with the mur­der of 17-year-old school­boy Kha­jeel Mais.

There have been mixed views to the out­come of the case as there are those who feel that the case should have gone to the jury for its con­sid­er­a­tion. There are those who say if you don’t have the ev­i­dence to sup­port the case, the jury can­not be al­lowed to spec­u­late.

A woman, who s a i d s h e fol­lowed the case from the trial started, said “when t he t ri al started it sounded like a strong case, but when I hear the taxi driver’s ev­i­dence that he could not iden­tify the shooter, case must col­lapse”.

Com­ment­ing fur­ther, she said, “I can­not un­der­stand what all the ex­cite­ment is about. Cases get thrown out of court all the time.”

“I am sorry that the per­son who shot and killed the boy will I knew the not be pun­ished, but if the ev­i­dence does not point to Pow­ell as the shooter, he must be freed.”

The woman’s sis­ter re­marked that “it was a jury trial, so the case should have con­tin­ued to the end and the jury de­cide guilty or not guilty.”

CAN­NOT IDEN­TIFY POW­ELL

In re­sponse, her sis­ter said, “You know you don’t have much sense. Why should time be wasted when the taxi man can­not iden­tify Pow­ell to the jury as the per­son who shot the boy? If the case con­tin­ued, it would be like a drown­ing man clutch­ing at straw.” “So what hap­pened to the gun from which the bul­let struck the boy?” the other sis­ter asked.

“Well, ac­cord­ing to the re­ports, the po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tors had no gun for the bal­lis­tic ex­perts to ex­am­ine and make a de­ter­mi­na­tion,” the sis­ter said.

“So you see I am right when I say with­out ad­di­tional eye­wit­nesses or even the firearm which fired the fa­tal shot,” the case could not con­tinue.

“In­ter­est­ingly though, I don’t quite un­der­stand why the prose­cu­tion treated the tax­i­man as a hos­tile wit­ness,” the other sis­ter queried.

In an­swer­ing the ques­tion, her sis­ter said, “You don’t know what hos­tile means? Well it means that the taxi driver was hos­tile in court, j ust l i ke how you are hos­tile to me many times.”

A l egal ex­pert i n defin­ing a hos­tile wit­ness said there are sev­eral rea­sons for per­sons be­com­ing hos­tile wit­nesses. He ex­plained that a hos­tile wit­ness oth­er­wise known as an ad­verse wit­ness is a per­son whose tes­ti­mony on di­rect ex­am­i­na­tion is ei­ther openly an­tag­o­nis­tic or ap­pears to be con­trary to the le­gal po­si­tion of the party who called the wit­ness.

Once a per­son is de­clared a hos­tile wit­ness, the state­ment the wit­ness gave can be put di­rectly to the wit­ness as is done dur­ing cross-ex­am­i­na­tion. There are in­stances when a wit­ness who gives a false state­ment can be charged with at­tempt­ing to pervert the course of jus­tice.

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