Jurors visit scene of gambling shop killing

| 24/10/2023
Scene of murder on School Road, Monday 25 April 2022

(CNS): Grand Court spilled out onto the streets of George Town on Monday when the twelve men and women sitting as jurors in the case against Justin Kyle Jackson and Eric Brian Williams Soto for the murder of Harry Elliott last summer visited the scene of the crime. Justice Cheryll Richards, the lawyers, court officials and the two defendants were also present as Detective Sergeant Russell These pointed out key details to the jurors.

Prosecutors say that Elliott was gunned down in a robbery gone wrong in a tiny unit in School Road, which was at the time a gambling shop but is now being used as a tailoring shop. The jurors were able to get an idea of the small confines in which the shooting took place and see where the two men entered and where Jackson fired the fatal shot.

During the cross-examination of Keron Cupid, a former police officer who was running the illegal gambling den where Elliott had gone to play numbers, Jackson’s defence attorney, Sallie Bennett-Jenkins KC, indicated that her client did not fire the shot intentionally. Both men have denied murder but accepted they were the two men caught on CCTV footage at the scene.

As a result, the location itself is of significant importance for the jury, who will have to decide if both men are guilty of murder in what the crown says was a joint enterprise.

Following the site visit, a witness who was present in the shop at the time of the killing told the court that the two robbers had not entered the small shop before a shot was fired and Elliott fell to the floor. He said he heard one of the men say “This is a robbery!” before he heard a “gun crank and then a loud explosion”. The witness said he did not see the men in the shop but saw them on the monitor, which was showing the footage from the CCTV camera in the foyer.

When Bennet-Jenkins asked the witness about the statement he gave to the police in the wake of the murder, he denied that he had told the police that the voice of the robber sounded like a child. He insisted he had told the police he could not identify the voice and he did not know if it was a man, woman or child.

When asked by Soto’s attorney, Charles Miskin KC, the witness confirmed that he did not see Soto enter the shop at all.

DS These, who had guided the jurors through the crime scene, then took the stand and talked through his work piecing together the CCTV footage that had helped police trace the getaway vehicle used by Jackson and Soto.

The footage from CCTV around George Town before and after the murder showed Soto going into a gas station on Crewe Road just before the shooting. It also showed the car arriving at the scene, driving away after dropping off the men, and then picking them up again immediately after the killing and heading to Windsor Park.

That footage taken around the town and inside the foyer of the gambling shop was critical in tracking down and identifying the suspects in this case and ultimately led to the murder charges being laid.

The case continues.

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