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Jury to deliver verdict on alleged gunman

Suspected gunman Marico Bassett allegedly shot Randolph Lightbourne in a bid to move up the ranks of a gang, prosecutors claimed yesterday.

The Crown, summarising its case against Mr Bassett, said the 20-year-old shot Mr Lightbourne for higher-ranking members of the Somerset-based gang MOB.

Crown counsel Carrington Mahoney told the jury: “He was willing to do whatever it took to continue his lifestyle.

“And the best way to move up in rank is to do special favours.”

Mr Bassett's lawyer Marc Daniels maintained his client was not affiliated with the group, and said the prosecution was trying to use the fear of gangs to sway the jury.

“The high-water mark for the evidence of gang membership was a gang expert who said that he saw Mr Bassett with gang members,” Mr Daniels said. “There was no evidence as to what their conversations were about, no details about the time, none of that was said in court.”

Even if his client was involved with the gang, it did not mean he was the one who pulled the trigger, he said.

Mr Bassett is on trail for the attempted murder of Mr Lightbourne. The 44-year-old was shot seven times outside the Charing Cross Tavern last July 23. Mr Bassett is also charged with using a firearm to commit an indictable offence and possession of two bullets. He denies all of the charges.

Mr Lightbourne was leaving the Sandys bar when someone rode into the area and shot him multiple times.

He suffered gunshot wounds to his buttocks and lower abdomen; one bullet pierced his small intestine, liver and urinary bladder.

A search of Mr Bassett's bedroom revealed clothes with trace amounts of gunshot residue. A search of an apartment belonging to a woman he was intimate with revealed two 9mm bullets on a shelf next to a quantity of drugs with the defendant's DNA.

Yesterday Mr Mahoney said that the shooter was identified by the victim, who he had known as a friend of his son and through the organisation CARTEL.

“There is no way you are going to forget the face of the person trying to kill you, and we are saying he did see and it was the face of the accused,” Mr Mahoney said.

He also noted that a witness said he saw a man in jeans and a white T-shirt leaving the scene on a motorcycle, and that a pair of jeans and a white T-shirt were found in the defendant's home with a small amount of gunshot residue.

“What a coincidence,” he said. “There is no evidence, except the Crown's evidence, as to where the gunshot residue came from.

“When all is said and done, the Crown is saying that Mr Lightbourne is not mistaken. This was the man who was on that bike who tried to take the life of Mr Lightbourne that afternoon.

“Only Mr Lightbourne's street smarts allowed him to stand before this court and tell you what happened.”

Mr Daniels challenged the victim's identification of the defendant, saying that Mr Lightbourne is blind in one eye and was only able to see a part of his attacker's face under extremely stressful circumstances.

“He cannot tell you the colour of the helmet, he can't tell you the colour of the bike, he cannot tell you the make of the bike,” he said.

“The identification evidence you have heard has come from one source and one source only.”

Despite being conscious and alert after the attack, Mr Lightbourne did not name Mr Bassett as his attacker for four days, the lawyer said.

“At no point did he say, 'Oh my God, Marico Bassett shot me'. Put yourself in that position. Do you tell someone?” Mr Daniels asked.

“Four days later is the first reference to Mr Bassett.”

Mr Daniels said that circumstantial evidence the gunshot residue and the DNA proved little because of the small amount involved and the fact that residue can be transferred.

“Gunshot residue on my clothing does not mean I discharged a firearm, or even that I was in the area with someone who discharged a firearm,” he said. “Like the DNA, it's transferrable.”

“There is no way that any 12 people sitting here could say that they are sure that he is the culprit and that his is guilty.”

The jury is expected to begin its deliberations this morning.

On trial: Marico Bassett

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Published March 10, 2011 at 8:00 am (Updated March 10, 2011 at 8:59 am)

Jury to deliver verdict on alleged gunman

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