From the Courts
May 24, 2016
Case of police officer shooting civilian begins

The case in which a police officer Orlando Browne has been charged with shooting Kevin Neil in his upper thigh began yesterday at the Serious Offences Court before Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias.{{more}}

Browne has been charged with two counts of wounding and unlawful discharge of a firearm on June 22, 2015 at Hope.

The first person to take the witness stand was Neil, the virtual complainant, who testified that after living in Trinidad for 25 years, he returned to St Vincent in 2013 and is now a resident of Penniston. He stated that on the night he was shot, he was drinking and dancing, when his foot got caught in an extension cord, which caused it to become accidentally disconnected from a sound system that was playing music.

Neil alleged that when the cord became disconnected, Browne shoved and pushed him over. He said he retaliated by holding Browne in a chokehold for four minutes,­ during which he said to him: “Not because you are a police you have to take advantage of me.”

According to Neil, the two scufffled until they were parted by Browne’s brother and his friend Grantley Grant, who encouraged him to leave the scene and they both made their way to the main road.

Neil alleged that while standing on the sidewalk, Browne approached him and shot him in the leg. He also claimed that when he fell to the ground, Browne stood over him and attempted to shoot him again, but was stopped by Grant, who threatened to inform the police if he did.

Neil was taken to the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, where he spent one week and a report was made to the Vermont Police Station.

According to Neil, he told the police there: “Once I don’t get justice, I shooting him back.”

During cross-examination by defence lawyer Ronnie Marks, Neil became agitated when Marks accused him of being deported from Trinidad for crimes committed there and being drunk at the time of the incident last year.

In his report to the police, Neil stated that he was intoxicated; however, yesterday he was adamant that he was not drunk and even said that Browne could have escaped from the chokehold.

When Grantly Grant took the witness stand, he said that when Neil accidentally unplugged the sound system, the owner of the sound system came to speak to Neil, after which he apologized. Browne then came over and patted Neil on his shoulder and told him to behave, to which Neil replied “We are not friends.”

It was also revealed in court that both Neil and Browne were former classmates, with no history of altercations with each other.

According to Grant, Browne patted Neil on his shoulder again, but this time, Neil knocked Browne’s hand away. Browne then pushed Neil and they began to fight, so Grant sought help from another man to separate the two men.

Grant testified that after the fight, he left the building with Neil and offered to take him home. While they were standing in the road, Browne approached with a gun in his left hand and shouted “Grantly, move dey!”

Grant said he told Browne to behave, but was pushed away by the accused, who then shot Neil in his leg from behind. Grant described the gun as being black and six inches long.

While Grant and other witnesses were on the witness stand, Neil complained about cramps in his leg and continuously massaged it.

The other four witnesses testifying yesterday were Dr Alisha Bonadie, who examined Neil at the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital; police constable 703 Josette Gally, who was stationed at the Vermont Police Station when the report against Browne was made by Neil on June 26, 2015; and Alvis Collis and Mishack Collis, who were both present at the time of the shooting.

Carl Williams leads the prosecution for the Crown. The matter was adjourned to June 1.(CA)