By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
CONTINUOUS footage of former Senator John Bostwick Jr’s movements at a resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama was not available as his ammunition possession case continued yesterday.
Elliot Lockhart, QC, asked a surveillance technician why there appeared to be gaps in security footage at the Grand Lucayan Beach Resort on May 17, 2014, concerning individuals associated with a white rental car that was valet-parked at the resort.
Harvey Thompson, the technician, said that only the relevant recordings were downloaded “for the sake of storage space”.
John Bostwick Jr is charged with possession of 10 live rounds of .22 ammunition, allegedly found in his luggage on May 17, 2014. Airport security allegedly discovered a quantity of ammunition in his luggage during a check in the domestic section of the Grand Bahama International Airport.
Police were contacted, and upon discovery of the ammunition, the then senator was taken into custody and flown to Nassau, where he was held at the Central Detective Unit before being arraigned in Magistrate’s Court, where he denied the allegation.
Yesterday, prior to Thompson giving evidence, police prosecutor Superintendent Ercell Dorsett called on two bellmen employed at the resort. Michael Green testified that he worked the 7am to 3pm shift on the day in question but that he had not been valet-parking.
Mr Lockhart asked Green if he, as a bellman, could see surveillance footage of the hotel entrance.
“I work in front of the hotel but we do have a camera monitor,” said Green.
“Did you view that footage at any time?” the lawyer asked.
“I don’t know what you talking about, I view it. I know there’s a camera,” the witness said.
When asked if he was familiar with the set up of the footage equipment, he said he was, but did not have access.
Sean Albury, a bellman of 16 years, said he, too, worked the 7am to 3pm shift on that day. When asked what his duties consisted of, Albury said that “as a bellman, we greet guests, assist them with their luggage, assist them with things around the hotel and valet parking”.
Albury said he valet-parked a white rental car on the instructions of Kevin Mott, who accompanied him.
“Were you the driver?” the prosecutor asked. “Yes, sir,” the witness said.
“Did you have any reason to go into the trunk of that car?” Supt Dorsett asked. Albury said he did not and also said he did not know who was in possession of the rental car at that time. Albury then denied tampering with any luggage in the car.
“During the time that you and Kevin Mott were in that car, did he tamper with anything?” the prosecutor asked. The witness said no.
In cross-examination, Mr Lockhart asked the bellman if a security guard was posted at the parking lot.
“They have a security gate, but not a guard,” said Albury.
Mr Lockhart requested that the witness be shown footage of the foyer leading to the lobby. However, when shown the footage, Albury said he didn’t recognise the area depicted on the screen.
Thompson was asked by the prosecutor what his duties were at the resort. “I’m responsible for the upgrade, improvements, maintenance and installation of the closed circuit television system,” he said, adding there were roughly 24 cameras at the hotel in which he assisted in the installation of a number of them.
The prosecutor asked how often he checked the footage. Thompson said he checked them every morning when on duty and another individual would do so when he was not. He could not recall any difficulties with the camera system on May 17, 2014.
He said Harvey Williams, the resort’s director of security spoke to him the following day regarding information needed by the police. This led Thompson to download video footage to DVDs for the timeframes requested. No police were present during this process, he said.
A number of video clips on the resort property were shown to Thompson.
Footage taken at 8.42 am depicts a man behind three individuals entering the hotel lobby with an object slung across his left shoulder. At 9.30am, footage is shown of a number of cars parked at the front of the resort entrance. At 10.20am, footage showed two males getting out of a white vehicle in the (valet) parking lot and walking away.
Footage taken at 5.11pm showed the individual and three others walking towards the white car. The last image seen is the trunk being opened before the camera panned out in another direction.
Mr Lockhart asked the technician if there were other camera angles for the footage taken at 8.42am. Thompson said that was the only camera angle.
“These four DVDs. What was your focus and objective in downloading them?” the lawyer asked.
“The focus was around a white vehicle parked at the front of the Manor House initially and persons who may have been associated with that vehicle,” the witness said.
“Did you view your cameras for when the vehicle pulled up?” Mr Lockhart asked. “I could not recall,” said Thompson.
“Did you see persons exiting the vehicle and/or approaching the hotel in the footage?” he was asked.
Thompson said the 9.30am footage was the only one that may show persons approaching the hotel but admitted that it did not show the individuals that were the focus of his role in the matter.
“Can you explain why one cannot see persons walking from the car up to the hotel?” Mr Lockhart asked. Thompson said the camera may not have been focused on them at the time.
Thompson agreed with the lawyer’s suggestion that there was no “frame by frame” footage of the man pulling up in the hotel in the morning until the late afternoon, when he appeared to be opening a car trunk in a parking lot for the entrance.
The lawyer asked the technician if there was any reason for the gaps in the recordings between 8.30am and 10am. The technician said only the relevant recordings were downloaded for the sake of storage space.
Mr Lockhart asked the technician if there was any footage in the area where a wedding reception was held at the resort that day. Thompson said no.
“Do you have a record in front of the hotel between 5pm and 6pm?” the lawyer further probed. “Yes, we do,” said Thompson, who was allowed to pull up the footage around 5.09pm on the computer.
The man who was previously shown in the footage taken at 8.42am with an item strapped over his shoulder, is flanked by three individuals until they are no longer visible.
When the footage was paused, Mr Lockhart asked the technician if he could definitively say the man was carrying a backpack.
Thompson said he could not as the resolution of the image was poor from the displayed camera angle.
Magistrate Andrew Forbes is presiding over the trial.