The judge in the manslaughter case against three young people will sum up on Tuesday morning before delivering his sentence.
Supreme Court Justice Randall Worrell today heard closing addresses from Principal Crown Counsel Alliston Seale and defence attorneys Arthur Holder and Angella Mitchell-Gittens.
On trial are three Christ Church residents – Shaquille Shamal Khaleel Bradshaw and Doniko Javier Alleyne of Balls Land and Maria Antoinette Goddard of Parish Land C, Balls Land – who are accused of causing the death of 11-year-old Ian Elroy Gibson, a Princess Margaret Secondary School student on September 20, 2009.
Gibson collided with a car on Sunbury Road, St Philip on September 18, 2009 and died two days later at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
And in his address to the jury, which lasted one and a half hours, Principal Crown Counsel Seale bluntly declared that it was bullying by the three accused while next to a busy public road, that caused the death of little Gibson when he was forced to escape a beating by fleeing across the street.
He told the jurors that the actions of Bradshaw, Alleyne and Goddard – students of the same school as the victim – bore the three elements of manslaughter: an unlawful act which was dangerous and reckless.
The state prosecutor, who focused his submission on bullying, contended: “It was the bullying that triggered the death….”
“You cannot say there is no correlation between your actions and the death. This boy merely entered school. Some older students bullied him until he ran across the road and was struck. Your actions of beating the boy and slapping the boy, led to his death,” he insisted.
Seale also sought to justify the discrepancies and inconsistencies which he admitted were revealed in the testimony of the Crown’s witnesses.
He argued that it was expected that some witnesses would have challenges with remembering every detail of the incident with the passage of some ten years.
Seale noted that one of his witnesses said the deceased was running and not paying attention to where he was going after being beaten, while another testified of a confrontation. The prosecutor also recalled that yet another state witness had said Alleyne and Goddard struck the boy.
He told the court that some of his same witnesses were also guilty of bullying Gibson – according to the evidence – and should have been in the dock with the three accused.
But in his address which lasted just under half of an hour, attorney for Bradshaw Arthur Holder reminded the jurors that his client had nothing to prove and it was the prosecution who was required by law to convince them beyond doubt that Bradshaw was culpable in Gibson’s death.
As Holder tore into the discrepancies and inconsistences of the Crown’s witnesses, he asked the jury if the prosecution had made them sure that his client had anything to do with the unlawful death of the boy.
To further support his argument, the attorney pulled on what he said was the indisputable and non-controversial evidence of the driver of the car.
He recalled the driver testifying that he saw two boys running behind another boy and that child hit his vehicle.
“If you believe that evidence, I don’t have to address you anymore,” Holder declared.
The defence attorney went further to contend that there was indisputable evidence exonerating his client from being one of those who was running behind the deceased.
Describing the prosecution’s star witness as a liar, Holder accused her of coming up with a notion that his client had hit the dead child; testimony, he argued, that no other witness supported.
“This trial is not about luck and chance. This is about the production of critical evidence. This is not a lucky dip. And that is what the prosecution wants you [the jury] to believe. Picking a piece from here and picking a piece from there,” he said in reference to the prosecution selecting portions of evidence from various witnesses whose testimonies were at variance with each other’s.
Holder told the jury that based on the fac that Crown’s evidence had fallen “woefully” short of making them sure his client caused the unlawful death of 11-year-old Gibson. He therefore urged them to find him not guilty.
It took attorney for Alleyne and Goddard, Angella Mitchell-Gittens a little more than 15 minutes to try to convince the jury that her clients had no case to answer.
She insisted that there is no evidence linking the two accused to the boy’s unlawful death.
The defence lawyer said the only evidence led by the prosecution was an incident at a bus stop.
“Where is the evidence of the bullying. What are the actions of Doniko and Maria that have to do with the death of Ian Gibson. The most they are guilty of is assault. They hit him and that is the end of it. They were nowhere near the boy when he got hit [by the car]. They hit him and they moved on,” said Mitchell-Gittens.
“The only verdict,” she told the jury, “is not guilty.”