Couples on trial over feud-fuelled violence

| 11/07/2017

(CNS): A husband and his pregnant wife and another unmarried couple appeared in the dock Tuesday, as their trial for attempted murder and firearms related charges opened in Grand Court. As the case against Malik (35) and Tashika Mothen (29), Kashwayne Hewitt (20) and Daniella Tibbetts (24) opened for the jury, the crown described a feud-fuelled shooting outside a West Bay Road nightclub in February, when an argument over a previous gang-related shooting turned violent and landed two men in hospital. Prosecutors allege Malik Mothen and Hewitt pistol-whipped Daniel Bennett (29) and then, aided by Tashika Mothen, beat and shot Carlney Campbell.

The deputy director of public prosecutions, Patrick Moran, who presented the details of the case to the court, told the jury that a few days after the shooting the police arrested the Mothens not far from their home in West Bay. Investigations also led them to the home of Danielle Tibbetts, also in West Bay, where Hewitt was staying, and the Colt 45 used in the violence was found in the toilet cistern.

The Mothens and Hewitt face a long list of charges related to the beating and shooting of the two men outside the Fete Night Club in the heart of the Seven Mile Beach tourist area, based on CCTV and the accounts of the two victims. However, Tibbetts, who was allegedly present during the shooting but not directly involved, is facing one count of possession of an unlicensed firearm because the gun was found in her toilet and the crown claims she had knowledge of the weapon.

Hewitt’s DNA was found on the weapon and he has admitted to possessing the gun but denied playing a part in the attack. He has pleaded not guilty to the attempted murder and assault charges. The Mothens have also denied being involved in any shooting and Tibbetts has pleaded not guilty to the possession of the gun, claiming she knew nothing about the weapon.

According to the crown’s case, the feud that triggered the argument outside Fete goes back to another shooting outside J’ahT’s, in McField Square in central George Town, when Tashika Mothen and two other women were shot when two masked gunmen opened fire into a crowd. It is believed that the gunmen were not aiming at the women but at a male target. Several people were arrested and one man was charged but the case collapsed when it reached court and no one has been prosecuted.

But in the early hours of 4 February, Tashika Mothen saw Daniel Bennett outside Fete and confronted him over that previous night of violence because she believed that a close friend of his was responsible for shooting her. During the argument Malik Mothen appeared and had a brief exchange with Bennett before he walked away, Moran said.

He told the jury that while Malik Mothen went to retrieve the gun from his car, Tashika continued to engage Bennett in an argument until her husband returned with the firearm. When he did, the prosecutor said, Mothen pistol whipped Bennett. When he picked himself up and started to run, Mothen fired at him but missed. Meanwhile, Campbell, Bennett’s cousin who had simply come to the club to pick him up and take him home, also became a target of the Mothens and Hewitt, the crown said. He was also pistol whipped, but when he fell to the ground, he could not get away and was beaten and then shot in the shoulder.

After that the attackers fled.

Moran told the jury that Campbell managed to crawl into the restaurant next door to Fete to take cover in case his assailants returned. There he called 911. Bennett, who had sustained a head injury during the attack, followed the trail of blood and found Campbell just as the police and emergency services arrived.

Both men were taken to hospital and treated. Campbell was operated on to remove a bullet that was lodged in his shoulderblade and made a full recovery. Police matched the bullet to the weapon found in Tibbetts’ toilet cistern.

The case continues in Court One with visiting judge, Justice Michael Wood, presiding.

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Category: Crime

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