Marine Tells Court He Heard Gunshot


Tribune Staff Reporter


A DEFENCE Force officer charged with protecting the Chinese Embassy the morning a Chinese restaurant worker was robbed and shot said he heard what “sounded like a gun”.

Marine seamen Alexander Smith said that shortly afterwards he saw a “gentleman” moving outside of the compound before the man left his line of sight.

After looking around the neighbourhood, he said he returned to his duties.

Yamacraw Beach resident 19-year-old Cleophas Clarke sat in the prisoner’s dock as the officer gave his evidence.

Clarke faces a charge of murder and armed robbery, which he denies.

He is accused of killing Wing Hong Chan outside his home on Village Road on January 22, 2012 and robbing him of a Samsung Galaxy SII worth $700.

Mr Chan worked at the VIP Chinese restaurant and was related to one of its owners. He died a short time after the shooting at Doctor’s Hospital.

In yesterday’s proceedings, lead prosecutor Anthony Delaney asked the witness about his involvement in the case.

Smith said that he was charged with the security and protection of the Chinese Embassy between midnight and 8am on the day in question.

After being shown photographs of the Embassy and neighbouring community in an album, the officer was asked where he was stationed during that shift.

Smith said that he and another colleague were in the security both of the Embassy compound entrance.

“While you were on duty, did anything happen?” the prosecutor asked.

“I guess there was a little function. Some traffic,” the officer said.

He said shortly before 4am, his colleague indicated that he would be taking a break.

The colleague exited the booth and went to his car. It was then, the witness said, that he heard a sound “that seemed to be a gunshot”.

“Shortly after hearing the sound, I saw a gentlemen in blue jeans plants and a black hoodie running at a slow trot. He continued to run at a slow trot until he was out of my eyesight.”

“What did you do then, if anything?” Mr Delaney asked.

“I came out of the booth, came by the gate entrance and looked into the community” the officer said, adding that he then “went back to my normal duties”.

He said it was about three hours later that an investigating policeman came to the compound and relayed certain information to him.

“I gave him some information and wrote a report,” he said, but could not recall who he gave the report to.

During cross-examination, defending attorney Gregory Hilton noted Smith’s previous mention of a function happening in the compound.

However, Smith said he did not say this during his testimony.

Mr Hilton asked the officer if he recalled how many vehicles were parked inside the compound but Smith said he did not. The jury then asked the witness questions.

The foreman asked the witness if his duties included admitting persons to the compound.

“Yes,” Smith answered.
“Are you allowed to check the compound or are you just stationed at the security booth?” the foreman asked.
“Is it normal to see someone jogging outside of the compound at that time of the morning?” she asked.

“I never saw anyone jogging outside the compound,” he answered.

“What time did your co-worker take his break?” the foreman asked.

“He took it before 4am for about two hours,” Smith answered.

The trial continues today before Justice Bernard Turner. Court proceedings begin at 10am.
Ralph Munroe is assisting Mr Delaney in prosecuting the case.


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