Defence lawyer questions detective on witness’ reputation
A convicted bank robber who testified in a murder trial has a 'notorious' reputation, a police officer said yesterday. Long serving detective Don DeSilva faced a string of questions about Randy Lightbourne from a lawyer representing Derek Spalding, the alleged killer. Mr Lightbourne told Supreme Court last week that Mr Spalding, 36, shot 25-year-old Shaki Crockwell dead over a drug debt. He alleged that Mr Spalding confessed to the murder the day after he committed it on August 24 2007. However, he only decided to tell the police in September 2010 to get it off his conscience because he thought he was dying of gunshot wounds himself. Defence lawyer Mark Pettingill dismissed the testimony of Mr Lightbourne as lies. Yesterday, he quizzed Det Con DeSilva at length over Mr Lightbourne, who served 11 years in jail for robbing a bank at gunpoint in 1997, stealing $70,000. Det Con DeSilva has served the Bermuda Police Service for 26 years, with more than 20 years as a detective. He is currently with the Serious Crime Unit and is in charge of the Crockwell murder case. He interviewed Mr Lightbourne, 45, when he decided to make the allegations about Mr Spalding in 2010. 'You knew who he was and you knew who his brothers were?' inquired Mr Pettingill. 'Yes,' confirmed Det Con DeSilva. 'They have notorious police reputations too?' pressed the lawyer. 'Yes,' replied Det Con DeSilva. Mr Pettingill suggested the detective is 'someone with his finger on the pulse of criminal life in Bermuda,' causing him to reply that he would 'hate to blow steam'. The lawyer went on: 'You're well aware that Randy Lightbourne at one time operated as a bandit who ripped off other drug dealers of drugs and money. That was his reputation?' Det Con DeSilva responded: 'That may have been his reputation, but as for specific information about those things, it would be unfair for me to characterise Randy as a guy who went about ripping off drug dealers.' When the lawyer asked why no one arrested Mr Spalding after Mr Lightbourne's allegations, Det Con DeSilva replied: 'You don't want to put the cart before the horse. 'You take in information and try to get other corroboration and information and you try to respect the requests of those giving you the information.' Mr Pettingill replied: 'I'm going to suggest that because it came from Randy Lightbourne, it didn't strike you as having enough merit to go out and make an arrest.' Det Con DeSilva replied: 'That would be a matter for senior management and also the DPP.' The trial heard on Monday that Mr Spalding was initially arrested over the murder on September 6, 2007. According to Det Con DeSilva, his home in Middle Terrace, off Friswell's Hill, Pembroke, was searched the following day and he was released from police custody a few days later. 'At that time there was not enough evidence to hold him or charge him,' he explained. The trial also heard last week from Mr Spalding's father, who cannot be named for legal reasons. he alleged that his son also confessed the crime to him. The father told the police of that in August 2011 and Mr Spalding was arrested again on suspicion of murder that month. Mr Spalding denies charges of premeditated murder and using a firearm to commit that crime, and the case continues.