By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
AN attorney told a jury they would believe the cow really jumped over the moon if they bought into what he called, the “devised scheme” of his client’s arrest and “confession” to the shooting of a senior police officer.
Jiaram Mangra, the attorney defending Excel Josey against charges of attempted murder and attempted armed robbery, made the remark yesterday before a nine-member jury during the closing arguments in the Supt Clayton Fernander attempted murder trial.
Mr Mangra said police witnesses in the case, including the virtual complainant, refused to directly answer simple questions regarding the circumstances surrounding the shooting and their involvement in the detention of his client before his formal arraignment.
“They did so because they did not want to face the truth,” Mangra suggested concerning the “dodging” of his questions.
He went on further to say that his client was persecuted in a “devised scheme” by Central Detective Unit officers to have Josey incriminate himself and his co-accused Maurice Armbrister.
Both Armbrister, 23, of Faith Gardens and Josey, 21, of Balls Alley, face a charge of attempted armed robbery and attempted murder relating to the April 10, 2013, incident.
Armbrister was further charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition – a black and silver Smith and Wesson .45 pistol with 29 .45 bullets.
It is claimed that on the day in question the men attempted to kill Supt Fernander. It is also claimed that they tried to rob him while armed with a handgun.
Supt Fernander was shot multiple times in the arm and upper body when two masked, armed men confronted him shortly after he pulled up to his home.
Supt Fernander was armed at the time, but was not able to return fire.
Yesterday, Mr Mangra said that before his client was even formally charged before the courts, he was already being called a defendant and not a suspect.
Mangra referred the jury to the report of Constable Burrows who claimed his client confessed to the crime when arrested during his visit to the doctor’s office.
In the report, he told the jury, Burrows called his client “the defendant” and not “suspect”, which he said spoke to pre-trial prejudice against Josey.
Mangra reminded the jury that the law indicates that “prior to him (Josey) being charged, he is still a suspect”.
“And suspects still have constitutional rights that must be adhered to,” he added.
He said that his client was not properly informed of his arrest in a language that he could understand and he was further denied his right of being afforded an opportunity to have counsel present.
“Fairness is the cornerstone of justice,” the attorney added, further voicing his displeasure at the fact that his client was arrested in a doctor’s office while on a medical examination table.
The attorney asked the jury to place themselves in that position and envision how they would react to, what he claimed, was an act of persecution.
He said the whole case, from the arrest to the “alleged confession” was a “devised scheme” by Central Detective Unit officers to have Josey incriminate himself and his co-accused.
“They didn’t want to spend the time to do a proper investigation,” he said.
He said the case’s lead investigator, Inspector Hart, “knew it all” about the “evidence” in the case.
“But on that witness stand he lied and lied until I ran out of fingers counting the amount of times he lied,” Mangra added.
Mr Mangra then addressed the evidence of Supt Fernander, whom he said “was getting so agitated” from intense questioning.
“I eased up on him though. I eased up on him because I felt threatened,” the attorney said.
Mangra told the jury that he had empathy for any persons who suffered any type of trauma but decried when an individual could take the witness stand under oath and “lie” to the court.
He claimed that the trained police officer “proceeded to lie through every teeth of his body of the circumstances that night”.
The attorney asked the jury to consider his reaction to the men approaching him armed with a handgun and how no shot was fired when he stretched out his hands and lay across the seat of his car.
The attorney submitted that Fernander, who was armed at the time, had ample opportunity to use his weapon if his story could be believed.
The attorney also asked the jury about Fernarnder’s account of how many shots were fired, when “three independent civilian witnesses claimed to have heard 1-2 two shots”. He also referred the jurors to the medical report where the complainant is noted to have only received one injury, a penetrating wound to his hand.
He said the reports about the medallion over his chest saving his life was all “crap, lies”.
“It was another fiction in Fernander’s mind that he was injured more than he was,” he submitted.
Mr Mangra told the jury that if they believed Fernander’s story and the “forced confession”, then “you would even believe the cow jumped over the moon”.
Armbrister’s attorney, Wayne Munroe, is expected to present his closing arguments today before Justice Carolita Bethell.
Depending on the amount of time available, prosecutor Neil Braithwaite will respond afterwards for the Crown.