Earlier this week, the case of gun and ammunition possession and shooting at with intent which was brought against Keshawn Merchant concluded with him being convicted of the first two and the latter being dismissed.
MiyVue.com understands that during the hearing, Merchant’s defence counsel, Chesley Hamilton accused the police of planting guns on the scene of the crime, thereby incriminating his client.
This media house understands that according to the evidence which was revealed in court, the incident took place at about 2:30 am on 10th January 2009. It is also understood that police were in the vicinity of Main Street Charlestown when they observed suspicious individuals. The individuals fled the scene and the police pursued them.
It is further understood that during pursuit, one of the individuals discharged his weapon several and the police returned fire injuring Merchant. He was taken into police custody and then to the Alexandra Hospital for treatment. He, according to information received by this media house, was found with a gun and matching ammunition.
Police officers made a subsequent search of the area – some distance from where Merchant was shot – later that morning and found three other firearms which they also took into their custody.
Divisional Commander of District ‘C’ of the RSCNPF, Inspector Hilroy Brandy, in an exclusive interview with MiyVue.com, said he is happy with the verdict but expressed his outrage with Hamilton’s suggestion that the police framed his client by planting guns at the scene of the crime.
“I was very happy to see the 11-member jury, return a unanimous verdict of guilty on the gun and ammunition possession charges. It tells me that there is still trust and hope in our law enforcement. But when a former police officer, Mr. Chesley Hamilton, could go in court and say that police planted firearm and ammunition on his client, that left a bad and bitter taste in my mouth, especially when the police are endeavouring to foster an excellent relationship with the public.”
In condemning Hamilton’s accusations, Inspector Brandy indicated that such allegations also implicate the management of the Nevis Division.
“I condemn such statements by Mr. Hamilton because in order for police to plant four firearms and ammunition, it would have to involve the management of the Nevis Division because, where will one constable find four weapons to plant on anyone especially at that time of the morning? I feel the lawyer should be commending the police officers for their vigilance in stopping a potential bloodbath which could have occurred that morning. But rather, he is accusing officers of planting weapons on his client.”
Defence Counsel Hamilton, when contacted by MiyVue.com concerning the Inspector’s statements, explained that he made no allegations but was acting in accordance with his client’s instructions which were that on the day of the incident, he did not have a gun and that the police, in shooting at him, fired at an unarmed man.
“I don’t allege anything. My client’s case is that he had no gun and that the police shot an unarmed man. It is interesting that the jury decided that he was guilty of gun possession but that he did not shoot at anyone. My client was charged with shooting at and also with gun and ammunition possession. The jury felt that he had a gun but he did not shoot at anyone. So that for now settles the matter. The Inspector cannot say that I allege or that I did anything. My client’s case was that he had no gun. So if he says he had no gun and they found a gun, then it had to have been planted.”
“The prosecution’s own expert indicated that the shells that were alleged to be found at scene have different marking than the ones that he test-fired. Why doesn’t he take issue with that? If evidence were not planted, then he has an explanation for the public. If the gun was not planted, were the shells planted?”
Hamilton said he has “no difficulty with the jury’s decision” but told MiyVue.com that he has every intention of appealing the matter “on jurisdictional grounds”.