Murder witness harassed to lie

| 19/05/2015 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Jose Sanchez arrives at the scene for a court visit with prison guards and lead detective on the Webster murder, Dennis Walkington (left)

(CNS): A crown witness made it clear that she had not seen Jose (Peto) Sanchez with a gun on the night that Solomon (Solly) Webster was shot and killed during a fight in Miss Daisy Lane last September in West Bay, despite what she was told to say. Rachelyn Bush told the court when she gave evidence last week that she had dropped Sanchez off at the yard where Webster was killed that night but he didn’t have a gun, and regardless of pressure from her baby father to say she had seen Sanchez fire a weapon, she said it was not true.

The court heard that the police have launched an enquiry into potential witness tampering but defence attorney Mark Heywood QC, representing Sanchez, raised the issue that previous prosecution witnesses’ testimony was now in question. He said that it was clear a conspiracy had been underway to pervert the course of justice in the case, implying that people close to the incident were trying to frame his client.

As she gave her evidence, Bush told the court that her children’s father, David Bodden, had pressured her to say a number of things and tell the police she had witnessed the shooting, which she said were all lies. She also indicated that he had asked her to say she had heard Sanchez make the incriminating comment, “One of unna going die tonight!” — which she said she had not heard.

The court heard that Bodden, who told Bush to lie over and over again, knows both Shaquille Bush (Rachelyn Bush’s cousin) and David Parchment.

David Parchment, who gave evidence for the crown earlier, had used those exact words — words that Director of Public Prosecution Cheryl Richards QC is also depending on as an important part of the circumstantial case against Sanchez and his alleged intention to kill or seriously harm the men he was fighting with.

As she gave her own evidence, Bush said Bodden had told her the only way he would be able to make the “story stick on the road” was to get someone very close to Sanchez to testify against him and say these things. Bodden said he could testify on Rachelyn Bush’s behalf and say she was with him that night and she didn’t see anything. But Bush said she had told Bodden that she was there and she would tell the truth about what she saw. In response, she said David Bodden then told her, “I going sink you and Peto.”

During her opening statement the DPP had told the court that there was no single witness to the entire event and no one had actually seen Sanchez fire the weapon at Webster. The case is based broadly on witnesses who say they saw the gun in Sanchez’ hand and heard the comments.

The questions for Justice Charles Quin, who is trying the case without a jury, is whether Sanchez had possession of the gun, pulled the trigger and intended to kill someone or not. Witnesses have said that Shaquille Bush started the altercation when he dragged Sanchez from Rachelyn Bush’s car when they arrived at the yard. At some point Webster joined in the fight and at some point a gun appeared and was fired at him, but Sanchez has denied being the shooter, claiming the weapon was Bush’s gun and Bush was the one who fired it.

Following a visit to the murder scene last week, when the judge was accompanied by the entire court staff, lawyers and the defendant, the court heard how the weapon had been recovered by the lead investigator on the case, Detective Inspector Dennis Walkington, after he was led to its hiding place by Webster’s father two days after the killing. Henry Webster told the officer where the weapon was hidden. It was in a poor condition and did not look as though it could fire, though a weapons expert confirmed that a casing found at the scene matched the weapon.

Walkington also told the court that Sanchez had called his mother when the senior officer was present in the yard. He was given the phone and Sanchez told him, “I have done nothing wrong.”

The case continues in court one this week with the crown expected to wrap up its evidence against Sanchez by the end of Tuesday after its final witnesses. At this point, the third and key figure in the case, Shaquille Bush, has not been called as it is understood that he has refused to give evidence.

Jaida Alexander, an intern with CNS, contributed to this report.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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