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Marco Archer: Investigator ‘Did Not View Surveillance Footage’

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

A POLICE investigator said he did not view surveillance footage obtained from a service station on Baillou Hill Road and Brougham Street, the area where Marco Archer reportedly was last before his disappearance.

Assistant Superintendent of Police Bernard K Bonamy Jr, who previously admitted in cross-examination that he had received information that Marco was not seen on the footage, could not recall if a CD with footage was on the case file when it turned into a murder investigation.

It was suggested to the case’s investigator that this footage could have helped determine if the child was ever at Brougham Street on September 23, 2011, from where he is reported to have disappeared.

Days later, on September 28, a decomposed body believed to be that of Marco Archer was found behind an apartment complex on Yorkshire Drive where the accused – Kofhe Goodman – lived.

Goodman, 38, of Yorkshire Drive, is accused of murdering the 11 year old between September 23 and 28, 2011. Goodman denies the charge.

Garvin Gaskin, Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, is prosecuting the case with Neil Braithwaite and Darell Taylor.

Goodman is represented by Geoffrey Farquharson.

The case opened on April 19.

Yesterday, the cross-examination of ASP Bonamy Jr by Mr Farquharson resumed with Mr Farquharson further questioning him about his training in missing persons cases and the first location from which he should start his investigation.

The lawyer suggested that the home of the child was the first place that should have been checked out.

However, the policeman said it was not necessarily the case as “it’s very rare a child is reported missing at home.” It also depended on the nature of the case.

“Based on the Marco Archer complaint, he was not a runaway child. He was a missing child,” the policeman explained.

Mr Farquharson asked the witness how many rooms were in Marco’s home.

“I can’t say,” the policeman replied.

“Which room did the child sleep in?” the lawyer asked.

“I never went inside,” the investigator answered.

Mr Farquharson asked the witness if he, as the lead investigator in the murder case, sent any of his team to photograph or collect forensic evidence from the scene.

“No, sir,” ASP Bonamy Jr answered to both questions.

“As the lead investigator in this murder case, are you able to establish that Marco Archer was ever in this home?” the lawyer asked.

“I was never in the house. I never searched the house,” the investigator said.

When asked about the Claridge Road home Marco reportedly visited, ASP Bonamy Jr said he didn’t know about there.

“What about his school? Were you ever able to establish that he went to school that day?” the lawyer asked.

The policeman said he never went there, neither did he speak with teachers, classmates or faculty.

“Did you ever see Marco Archer’s birth certificate?” Mr Farquharson asked. The policeman said he had not.

“Can you tell us, based on your investigation, if Tryphemia Ferguson (Meadows) ever had a child named Marco Archer?” the lawyer asked.

The investigator said he accepted the findings of the DNA report for that.

“Did you ever speak to his sisters?” the lawyer then asked.

“Whatever was on the file, I assumed they were his family members,” the investigator replied.

When it was suggested that he should have interviewed the family again on the basis that the murder investigation was entirely independent of the missing report, ASP Bonamy Jr said he did not consider it necessary to do so.

“But you never found out how he got from Brougham Street to Yorkshire Street?” the lawyer asked.

“No, sir,” ASP Bonamy replied.

The investigator was asked if he ever independently inquired whether Marco was at Brougham Street on the day in question.

ASP Bonamy Jr said the investigation was a team effort which he took over on September 28, 2011.

Mr Farquharson suggested that he was the leader of that team and took the “word” of Marco’s family.

Mr Farquharson then shifted his questioning about a surveillance video taken from Texaco Service Station and suggested to the investigator that the video contradicted what he was told by the family about the boy going to Texaco.

The questioning was objected to by Mr Gaskin, the lead prosecutor, on the basis that there was no witness who gave evidence about the service station.

Justice Bernard Turner reviewed his notes from July 12, when ASP Bonamy first gave evidence under cross-examination. It was at that time that the officer had said that he had received information that Marco had not been seen on the footage.

In response, Mr Gaskin asked why counsel was questioning the witness about viewing the footage.

Mr Farquharson rephrased his question to ASP Bonamy saying that “at no time in that relevant period was this child near where he was supposed to be.”

The investigator replied that the family spoke with police around the time that the child was reported missing.

“My involvement came on the 28th,” the investigator emphasised, noting that some things were done before he took over the investigation because a body was found, believed to be and later identified as Marco Archer.

Mr Farquharson asked the officer if he received the surveillance footage.

“Me personally? No,” ASP Bonamy Jr said.

“It wasn’t on the case file that was given to you?” the attorney asked.

“I did not receive the footage,” the officer answered, explaining that whatever footage is collected during an investigation is handled by the police’s Cybercrime Unit and held in a technical room.

Mr Farquharson asked the question again and the officer said he could not say if a copy of the surveillance footage was on the file he received.

When asked if he preserved the footage, ASP Bonamy Jr said, “I never had the video,  I never saw the video.”

“Did you request it for any reason?” the attorney asked.

“No, sir,” the policeman answered.

The trial resumes today.

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