Police officer says confession was not beaten out of suspect


Tribune Staff Reporter


A POLICE inspector denied beating a confession out of Michael Newland after Newland admitted in a police interview to being part of the armed robbery of a bus on East Street in 2014 that left a 43-year-old male passenger dead.

Newland, 29, is accused of killing Martin Flauristine during a robbery of a #1 bus on East Street near Island Games on February 24, 2014.

His trial on charges of murder and five counts of armed robbery continued yesterday before Justice Renae McKay.

Inspector McKenzie previously testified that while he was attached to the Central Detective Unit, he interviewed Newland in connection with the murder in August 2016.

During this interview, Newland said that he, Arturio “Ali” Miller and Franklyn Stubbs planned the bus robbery.

He further claimed that Miller shot the deceased when he tried to grab him during the holdup.

Responding to questions from prosecutor Timothy Bailey, Inspector McKenzie said there was no interrogation of the defendant before or after the camera stopped during the police interview.

The officer said the defendant never indicated he wanted a lawyer and was never under duress. He also said he did not rehearse questions or answers with the defendant.

Inspector McKenzie agreed with Walton Bain, the defendant’s attorney, that there was no identification or forensic evidence that pointed to Newland being the shooter.

Mr Bain told the inspector that officers had taken the defendant into a small room away from cameras before the interview. There, the lawyer claimed, his client was handcuffed to a chair, slapped, punched and choked with a bag until he agreed to confess what they told him to say.

Inspector McKenzie denied this. He disagreed that he refused to allow the defendant a phone call and that the man’s constitutional rights were breached.

The defence attorney claimed that the defendant’s voice was damaged in the interview and that he was slumped over the table in pain.

Inspector McKenzie said that it was just the defendant’s demeanour and how he sat.

Mr Bain said it was suspicious that it took two years after the shooting for the defendant to confess and another year until he was charged in 2017. He then suggested that the defendant wasn’t charged immediately because he needed time to heal his injuries.

Inspector McKenzie said there was nothing unusual with the length of the police’s investigation, calling abuse claims “nonsensical”.

Responding to follow-up questions from the prosecution, the officer said he never heard the defendant grunt or make pained noises during the interview. He also said Newland never indicated he was in pain and walked into the interview causally.

Sgt Deandro Thomas, who sat in on the interview, said he never saw the defendant get abused to coerce a confession. He said he saw no visible marks or injuries on the defendant and that Newland never asked to see a doctor.

Sgt Thomas denied Mr Bain’s suggestion that officers alluded to the defendant’s dead father to threaten a confession from him.

The officer told Mr Bailey that it was not uncommon for suspects who give confessions to appear fidgety or be bent over during an interview.

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