From the Courts
November 20, 2009
Defence continues assault in Clouden’s murder trial

The defence in the Sean Clouden murder trial continues to hammer away at the prosecution witnesses as the case steams ahead at the Criminal Assizes.

Defense attorney Kay Bacchus Browne, representing murder accused Leslie Ashton, has accused some of the police officers of lying under oath and having inconsistencies in their evidence.{{more}}

Ashton is accused of the October 10, 2008 murder of Clouden at San Souci. Clouden was mortally wounded after he was shot as he was about to enter his car shortly after 2am.

The case, which started on Monday at the High Court, has already heard evidence from seven witnesses including Sean Clouden’s mother, Kenlyn Clouden and six police officers.

Police Constable Gary Horne said that around 2am, he heard five gunshots not too far from Drop Off nightclub. Horne said he then saw someone running behind a man and throw him to the ground. He noted that he then saw another man hit the man on the ground with a stick over his head and other people joined in beating him.

Horne recalled walking to where the beating was taking place and said he got help from other off duty police officers to fend off the angry mob. Horne said the accused was the man getting the blows about his body. He said Ashton was dressed in a black hooded shirt, short pants and a bandana over his face.

Horne testified that while Ashton was on the ground, patrons asked him, “Why you kill the man?” and that the accused said someone paid him to do it.

Under cross-examination, Bacchus-Browne accused the officer of twisting the truth to get a conviction. She also said that her client never said he was paid to kill Clouden but instead he said that he was set up.

She also accused the other officers of not telling the truth by saying that the accused said he was paid by someone to kill Clouden. She also stated that officer Horne said in his statement on October 13, 2008 that he was about 150 feet away from the beating and that he conveniently shortened the distance in his testimony in court to secure a conviction. Horne maintained he was speaking the truth.

In the evidence given by Police officer Ian Ballantyne, he noted that he left the Colonaire Police Station after receiving a telephone call about the incident at San Souci. He noted that he met the accused sitting on the ground with blood covering his face and his pants below his knees.

Ballantyne said he carried out a search on the accused and found 11 rounds of .38 ammunition in his right front pants pocket. In his left, front pocket, $53.20, a Coral cellular phone and a Digicel SIM Card were found. Ballantyne noted that he placed the items back in Ashton’s pocket, took off the pants and folded it with the items in it.

Ashton was then placed in the back of the police transport and taken to the Georgetown Health Centre for treatment. Ballantyne noted that he took the pants and placed it on the ground of the left, front passenger seat on their way to Georgetown.

The case continues at the High Court with Ballantyne’s evidence.(KW)