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Prosecutor 'Attacked Because Of Role In Conviction'

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

A Crown prosecutor on Friday claimed a man attacked him and ordered another man to stab him earlier this year because of his role in having another one of the man’s friends convicted for a criminal offence.

Joel Seymour said Daltino Thurston fought him at the K-Souse restaurant on January 5 because he was the lead prosecutor in Javon Alexander Rolle’s criminal trial in the Supreme Court less than a month earlier.

According to Mr Seymour, Thurston was Rolle’s alibi witness during the trial in December, and was also good friends with Rolle, who was at the time engaged to one of Thurston’s cousins.

And that fight, Mr Seymour claimed, came after he heard Thurston point him out to the other men with him and tell them that he was responsible for having Rolle convicted, and that he should thus “deal with him”.

Mr Seymour also said Thurston made other threatening remarks to him, such as “it’s killing season” and that “police and prosecutors could get it too”. He also said Thurston made sure to show the other guys what kind of vehicle he was driving.

However, Mr Seymour claimed that because he won that initial fight thanks to his training from being a former maximum security prison officer, Thurston had to call his “bigger little brother”, 27-year-old George Rahming, to come to his aid.

Mr Seymour claimed Rahming did this by striking him in his head with some sort of metal object during a second argument with Thurston, which resulted in him sustaining injuries.

The evidence was given during trial before Magistrate Kara Turnquest-Deveaux concerning allegations Thurston and Rahming attacked and injured Mr Seymour on January 5.

The pair also face obstruction of justice charges. Rahming is accused of injuring Mr Seymour as a result of Mr Seymour being the prosecutor in a criminal matter, while Thurston is accused of attempting to intimidate, and commit violence against Mr Seymour for the same reason.

Both men have denied the charges.

Taking the witness stand on Friday, Mr Seymour said that around 10.30pm on January 5, , he went to the K-Souse restaurant on Baillou Hill Road to get some food. K-Souse, he said, is owned by his cousin.

He said he ordered some food, and while waiting for them to prepare the food, he ordered drinks. He said he waited for the food at the front of the establishment.

Mr Seymour said he eventually got the first drink, either a Kalik or a Corona, and drank it. Afterwards, he said he proceeded to his truck to retrieve his tumbler cup. Mr Seymour said his truck was parked on Palmetto Street.

He said while walking to his truck, he passed Thurston and another male, who were both standing some ten feet away from his truck. He said because that wasn’t the first time he had seen Thurston around that area, he figured Thurston hadn’t even recognised him. So, Mr Seymour said he just minded his business, hoping Thurston wouldn’t recognise him.

Mr Seymour said he eventually made it to his truck without saying a word to Thurston. However, he said, while he was getting the tumbler out of the truck, he heard Thurston say to the other male “ya boy there is a prosecutor, he’s the one who send Javon to jail” and that he (Thurston) should go “deal with him now”.

Mr Seymour also indicated that Thurston told the other male to stab him.

Mr Seymour said he was taken aback when he heard those remarks, and though he did not specify whether he said so aloud, said he “was like, bey, what you dealing with bey?”

Mr Seymour said when he looked up, both Thurston and the other male had already started to approach him, with Thurston in the lead. He said when Thurston reached where he was, both of them grabbed each other by the collar almost simultaneously.

Mr Seymour said both of them subsequently exchanged blows. While doing so, Mr Seymour said Thurston told him: “You joking, you jail my boy!” Mr Seymour said he replied by saying: “Your boy pull gun and rob women and children. I just doing my job”.

My Seymour said a group of patrons came out of the establishment after hearing all the commotion and ended up separating them. He said he was sent back to the front of the establishment, where he was initially waiting for his food.

Mr Seymour said once back at the front, people started inquiring about the scuffle. He said he told them how Thurston was a defence witness in a case he had just prosecuted. At that time, Rolle had already been convicted by the jury, but Justice Renea McKay had adjourned the matter for sentencing, Mr Seymour said. But Mr Seymour said during Rolle’s testimony, as well as that of Thurston’s, it was discovered that not only were the two friends, but Rolle was engaged to Thurston’s cousin.

Mr Seymour said he ultimately decided to leave the establishment. While walking to his truck, Thurston was standing in the road with a group of guys, some ten feet away. And at that time, Mr Seymour said Thurston was telling the other guys “Yeah bey, ya boy is a prosecutor. He must be ain’t know where he is, aye? It’s killing season.”

He also said Thurston said “police and prosecutors could get it too”.

Mr Seymour said as a Crown attorney, he is accustomed to receiving threats on a regular basis, so he wasn’t really phased by Thurston’s remarks. However, he said the breaking point was when he said Thurston started pointing out his truck to the other men.

Mr Seymour said Thurston essentially marking his truck made him afraid but also upset, as he reasoned that what the accused did had the potential to put his life in “extreme danger”.

Mr Seymour said he consequently proceeded to approach Thurston, adamantly insisting that the other man refrain from what he was doing for that very reason. However, he said before he could get the words out of his mouth, he felt a sudden blow to the left side of his head.

Mr Seymour said he doesn’t know with what he was hit, but he felt metal when he was struck.

Mr Seymour said he was not only physically stunned, but also mentally, because he knew Thurston was in front of him and thus could not have thrown that blow. He said as he stumbled backwards, he looked up and realised it was Rahming, donned in a beanie, who had hit him.

Mr Seymour said he started bleeding. As a result, he said, he turned to leave because “I ain’t even come here for this”. While doing so, however, he said he heard Thurston say, “Shoot him, shoot him!”

However, Mr Seymour said he didn’t know if Thurston was issuing a command, or asking a question. Nonetheless, he said those remarks prompted him to run to the front of the establishment.

He said unknown persons later brought his truck to him and put him inside, while someone held some sort of compress to his head. He said he was subsequently taken to the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).

Mr Seymour said when he got there, he did not feel safe, as he is aware of situations where persons follow injured people to PMH to “finish off what they started”. Thus, he said, he requested to go to Doctor’s Hospital, where he was treated and given medication.

While there, Mr Seymour said he was interviewed by police officers about the incident, and gave a statement.

Days later on January 8, he said he was contacted by officers at the Central Detective Unit (CDU), who asked him to attend the University Drive office to conduct an identification parade. He said he immediately recognised Rahming as the one who hit him in the head. He also said he was shown a rogues gallery, from which he was able to identify Thurston almost immediately.

During cross-examination, however, Ramona Farquharson-Seymour, attorney for the accused men, accused Mr Seymour of being the “aggressor” in the situation, something that was the end result of a mixture of him being drunk and being someone who acts “poorly” when in social settings.

Mrs Farquharson-Seymour brought Mr Seymour’s attention to the existence of a video of the incident, that was captured by the surveillance cameras on a house on Palmetto Street belonging to her client's mother, Lavita Thurston.

In that video, Mrs Farquharson-Seymour said Mr Seymour is “pursuing” Thurston and “swinging” at him. However, she said Thurston takes a step back, and as Mr Seymour is going in to hit him, Rahming intervenes by hitting Mr Seymour once in the head. All the while, Mrs Farquharson-Seymour said the video shows Ms Thurston trying to calm Mr Seymour down; however, Mr Seymour said he did not remember Ms Thurston being on the scene.

Mrs Farquharson-Seymour also asserted that Mr Seymour’s friends and/or cousins were also trying to hold him back from going after Thurston because he was “so out of control”. Mr Seymour denied her assertions.

Nonetheless, Mrs Farquharson-Seymour asserted that Mr Seymour’s claims are merely his attempts to avoid having to account for him behaving “like a beast in the road” as evidenced by the video tape. Mrs Farquharson-Seymour further asserted that had it not been for that video, Mr Seymour would have continued with the “lies” against Thurston.

Mrs Farquharson-Seymour also noted that in the statement Mr Seymour gave to police on January 6 while in the hospital, he only referred to one physical altercation involving Thurston.

Over a month later on February 8, however, she said he gave a second “typed statement” to CDU officers in which the contents are “altered” to include mention of a second fight and/or physical altercation with Thurston.

And the reason for that second statement, Mrs Farquharson-Seymour asserted, was because the video not only captured him “in a rage”, but went viral on social media and news outlets, causing observers to “condemn” and speak negatively about his behaviour.

Mr Seymour argued that with him having been struck in the head, and due to him being under the influence of medication, he could not have given a “perfect and precise statement”, even though he said he tried to as best as he could in the circumstances.

Thus, he said, the purpose of the second statement was to essentially fill in the gaps of what he might have missed in giving the first statement.

However, Mrs Farquharson-Seymour pressed him, pointing out that he still had the “clarity of mind” to recall specific details like him prosecuting Rolle’s criminal trial in the second week of December 2018.

Mrs Farquharson-Seymour noted that Mr Seymour also had the clarity of mind to tell police that later in December around the Christmas holidays, subsequent to Rolle’s conviction, he visited K-Souse and noticed Thurston in the area, but the accused didn’t say anything to him at the time.

In any event, Mrs Farquharson-Seymour told Mr Seymour that if he was so afraid for his life as he said he was, he should have left the area and gone to the nearest police station, as opposed to approaching Thurston and trying to “throw him down”.

“Had you left, you would not be seen on tape pursuing him and throwing a blow,” she said.

The case continues on July 19.

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