Five on trial over violent gun fuelled feud

| 21/11/2017

(CNS): Five people from West Bay crammed into the dock in the Grand Court Monday, as the crown opened its case against the group in relation to an attempted murder outside a West Bay Road nightclub earlier this year. Malik Mothen (35), Tashika Mothen (29), Kashwayne Hewitt (20), Daniella Tibbetts (24) and Leshawn Forrester (23) are all facing a list of charges stemming from a violent attack on two men outside Fête in February. The crown contends the attack was related to a gang shooting in the summer of 2015 at McField Square, George Town, when Tashika Mothen and two other women were shot.

As he presented the crown’s case, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran told the jury that the feud-fuelled shooting followed an argument with one of the two victims, Daniel Bennett (29), but ended up with his cousin, Carlney Campbell, being beaten and shot. The case is based on evidence from both Bennett and Campbell, supported by CCTV footage.

The prosecutor said that Tashika Mothen believed that Bennett’s friend, Todd Bowen, was the man who shot her, and when she spotted Bennett outside the club on the night of 4 February, she began an argument and allegedly told Bennett that she planned to kill his friend with an assault rifle.

No one has ever been convicted for the McField Square shooting, in which two masked men opened fire into a crowd, injuring the women. Randy Parchment was charged but on the eve of  his trial in October 2015 the case collapsed when witnesses refused to testify.

Moran said that as Tashika argued with Bennett, her husband, Malik Mothen, appeared. He also had a brief exchange with Bennett before he walked away and, according to the crown, went to get a gun. The crown’s case is that his wife continued to engage Bennett in an argument to keep him there until Mothen returned.

When he did, the violence started as he pistol whipped Bennett with the gun. Bennett managed to get up and run as Mothen fired the Colt 45 at him and missed. Meanwhile, Bennett’s cousin had arrived at the scene to collect Bennett, having agreed to give him a ride home. Campbell walked into the violent confrontation, and although he only knew the people vaguely, he became the victim of a major attack involving both the Mothens as well as Hewitt and Forrester, the crown said.

The group beat up Campbell as he was on the ground, then Hewitt allegedly took the gun from Malik and shot him before they all fled. Fearing they would come back and finish him off, Campbell staggered round to the neighbouring bar of Peppers, where he collapsed. He was found soon after by police and his cousin Bennett, who had come back to look for him.

He was taken to hospital where surgeon’s removed a bullet from his shoulder blades. Moran told the court that Campbell had made a remarkable and rapid recovery, and right after the operation gave a full account to the police.

A few days later the Mothens were arrested at their West Bay home, and shortly afterwards police searched the home of Tibbetts, also in West Bay, where Hewitt was staying and found the weapon used to shoot Campbell in the toilet cistern. Tibbetts and Hewitt were both arrested and Forrester was picked up some time later.

Although Tibbetts was at the scene on the night of the shooting, she was not involved in the violent assault and faces firearms charges related to the gun found in the toilet. However, she has denied any knowledge of the weapon.

Hewitt’s DNA was found on the gun, and he while he has admitted possession, he denies playing any part in the attack, having pleaded not guilty to attempted murder and assault charges. The Mothens have also denied being involved in the incident and have pleaded not guilty to all of the charges.

The case continues in Grand Court One with visiting judge, Justice Roger Chapple, presiding.

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