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Bostwick Lawyer Grills Police Witness Over Second Report

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

THE continuation of former Senator John Bostwick Jr’s ammunition possession trial saw tense moments during his lawyer’s cross-examination of prosecution witnesses yesterday.

Corporal Warren Bethel was recalled by Superintendent Ercell Dorsett concerning a secondary search of records in the Firearms Licensing Unit for any evidence that the ex-senator possessed a certificate for the ten live rounds of .22 ammunition that were allegedly found in his luggage on May 17, 2014 at the domestic section of the Grand Bahama International Airport.

Cpl Bethel had initially testified that on April 22, he examined records between 1969 and April 22, 2015 to ascertain whether the named defendant was issued a firearms certificate to possess ammunition.

This, he said, concluded his involvement in the matter.

Yesterday, Supt Dorsett asked the officer if he had produced a report for a second search he did upon learning that the wrong date of birth had been entered for Bostwick Jr.

Bethel said he had and noted the findings were no different despite the initial error.

The defendant’s lawyer, Elliot Lockhart, QC, probed Cpl Bethel on his purported attempt to pass off the report as if it had been an original.

“This is your second report, is it not?” the lawyer asked.

“Yes,” Cpl Bethel said in a softer tone.

“So why are you trying to present this false report today? Who asked you to do that?” Mr Lockhart asked.

Mr Lockhart pushed for an answer when Cpl Bethel hesitated.

“Who? The attorney general?” the lawyer put to the witness.

Magistrate Andrew Forbes asked the witness if he “was under instructions to produce this report”.

“Yes, I was,” the officer said.

“(From) who?” the lawyer asked.

“Prosecutions,” Cpl Bethel said before naming the prosecutor.

“I thought it was Kent Strachan but I have no further questions,” Mr Lockhart said.

Supt Dorsett asked the officer if he stood by his previous statement into the findings of his search. Cpl Bethel said he did.

The question and answer prompted Mr Lockhart to ask the witness, with the leave of the magistrate, “Is he in your records anywhere?”

“Yes,” said Cpl Bethel, noting that records show Bostwick had a licence for a 12-gauge shotgun and the requisite ammunition.

“And his licence, it’s up to date?” the lawyer asked. Cpl Bethel said yes.

“With no problems?” the lawyer probed.

“Not that I know of,” the witness said.

Lead investigator in the case, Chief Supt Kent Strachan was also recalled to the witness stand yesterday.

Mr Strachan had previously given evidence concerning a search warrant he had executed at the George Street home of the former senator and the DVD copies he’d received by a junior officer concerning his video recording with Bostwick at the Central Detective Unit.

On the first DVD shown in court yesterday, Bostwick is seen questioned about the items found in his bag and the second DVD depicts the defendant being informed that charges would be brought against him.

Mr Lockhart asked the investigator if, based on his inquiries, any ammunition had been found in Bostwick’s bag when it had gone through screening in Nassau prior to his flight to Freeport.

Mr Strachan said none had been found.

“You found nothing at the house, correct?” the lawyer further probed.

“That’s correct,” the investigator said.

“You checked everywhere, you had a warrant, and found nothing, isn’t that so?” Mr Lockhart suggested.

Mr Strachan agreed and also said the lawyer was correct that the former senator denied any knowledge of the ammunition and clip.

The trial continues.

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