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Blair Raid Suspect Said He Was Just Driving

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

TWO police officers testified yesterday how one of two men accused of the 2014 murder of Blair resident Andre Cartwright allegedly told one of them that he was not directly involved in Cartwright's murder, but had served as a driver for the four suspects the day the incident occurred.

Police Detective Sergeant Sherwin Braynen, taking the witness stand before Justice Renae McKay, said Tiano D'Haiti allegedly told him that while he was one of five men who visited Cartwright's home on October 28, 2014, he stayed in the car while the other four, inclusive of co-accused Kevin Andrews, forced their way into the Cartwright residence.

According to Det Sgt Braynen, who was attached to the homicide division of the Central Detective Unit (CDU) at the time of the incident, D'Haiti allegedly made his statements on October 31, 2014 while in the Princess Margaret Hospital suffering from a gunshot wound.

Det Sgt Braynen said he, along with two other officers, went to the hospital with a court order to draw D'Haiti's blood. Only another officer, Police Corporal Santino Maycock, was present in the room, serving as D'Haiti's police guard, as well as the doctor who withdrew the blood, Det Sgt Braynen said.

He added D'Haiti allegedly told him that Andrews, along with Andrews' younger brother and two other men picked him up in a white Astro van on October 28, 2014 and drove around for a while before arriving in the Blair Estates area sometime after 1am.

At the time of their arrival in Blair, D'Haiti said he was driving the vehicle, according to Det Sgt Braynen. Upon arriving in the area, D'Haiti said he parked the van near a wall while the other suspects proceeded on foot to the Cartwright's residence.

Det Sgt Braynen said D'Haiti told him that he only went into the house after he heard the sound of gunshots. Upon entering, D'Haiti allegedly saw Andrews and his younger brother before proceeding towards the home's inner door, which separates the bedrooms from the rest of the house.

The officer said upon arriving at the inner door, the accused heard another shot ring out, prompting him and the others to flee the residence.

It was then that D'Haiti said he realised he was shot, Det Sgt Braynen claimed. The officer said he was told the van sped off and ultimately ended up at the residence of Andrew's girlfriend, whose roommate then drove D'Haiti to the Accident and Emergency section of PMH.

Det Sgt Braynen said he relayed the information he received from D'Haiti to an Officer Evans, whom he said was the lead officer that day, before filing a written report later that day.

Cpl Maycock, who took the witness stand just moments before Det Sgt Braynen, offered a similar testimony of the statements made by D'Haiti to Det Sgt Braynen. Cpl Maycock said he later filed a report of what he heard that day.

Subsequent to Det Sgt Braynen's testimony, D'Haiti's attorney, Jairam Mangra submitted that the written reports of both officers were almost identical, and questioned if the two had colluded to produce the documents in question. Det Sgt Braynen denied this, stating that he never saw Cpl Maycock's report.

Mr Mangra subsequently requested to have Det Sgt Braynen presented with both reports for comparison's sake, a request that was contested by the Crown.

This and the legal issues that subsequently arose ultimately led to Justice McKay discharging the jury and adjourning the matter to today at 11am.

Yesterday's proceedings mark the second week of trial for D'Haiti, of Thompson Lane, and Andrews, of Montell Heights, in connection with Cartwright's murder in 2014.

D'Haiti, represented by Mr Mangra, is accused of murder and attempted armed robbery, while Andrews, represented by Murrio Ducille, is accused of murder, attempted armed robbery and burglary.

According to initial reports from police, Cartwright, 44, was at his Blair Estates home around 1.40am with his mother and father on the morning in question, when men kicked in the door of the house.

When he heard the noise, the deceased got his licensed shotgun and went to investigate, police reported. He encountered the suspects, one of whom was armed with a handgun, police said.

There was a brief exchange of gunfire, which resulted in the victim being shot multiple times. He died at the scene. One of the suspects was also shot, however, initial reports from police said he and the other men escaped in a silver coloured Honda Accord.

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