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Officer’s ID of murder accused challenged

Defence lawyer Charles Richardson (File photograph)

A police officer was yesterday challenged about his identification of a man accused of murder.

Jaquii Pearman Desilva and Joshua Usher have both denied murdering Prince Edness, who was shot dead outside of a home on South Avenue, Southampton, on December 7 last year.

The Supreme Court had already heard that Mr Edness was shot by the pillion passenger of a motorcycle, which had come out of the Southampton Rangers car park.

Police pursued two suspects in a high-speed chase shortly after the shooting, but they were able to escape after opening fire at officers.

Detective constable Jason Trott previously told the court that he first noticed Mr Usher on CCTV footage from Southampton Rangers because he appeared to be wearing a bulletproof vest beneath his top.

He later recognised the person as Mr Usher, who he had interacted with in the past.

As the trial continued yesterday, defence lawyer Charles Richardson questioned Pc Trott about a “viewing log” of the recordings produced by Don Desilva.

Pc Trott told the court that he had viewed the footage while Mr Desilva recorded his observations. The officer said he later used Mr Desilva’s notes when preparing his own statement.

While Mr Richardson suggested that Mr Desilva had produced the log in advance of the viewing — noting a previous statement to the court in which Pc Trott said he had the record in hand while viewing the tapes — the officer said that the log he was referring to only noted the times and cameras, not the identity of those on the footage.

Mr Richardson also suggested that Pc Trott had incorrectly identified the man on the footage as Mr Usher, noting that the officer had not stated how he recognised the defendant or mentioned any identifiable features spotted on the footage.

“Me having encounters [with] him and seeing him on a regular basis, I was able to look at him and see it was him,” Pc Trott said.

The officer said he could not be 100 per cent certain that it was Mr Usher seen on the footage getting on a bike in the club’s car park.

“I can only go by the clothing that he was wearing,” Pc Trott said. “I looked at his gait, his walk, his build, but I cannot be 100 per cent sure.”

The court also heard evidence from a forensic scientist, Allison Murtha, who tested several items for gunshot residue (GSR) — the particles produced by the discharge of a firearm.

She explained that true GSR was made up of lead, barium and antimony, which are fused together when a gun is fired.

She said that the presence of all three was indicative of gunshot residue, while particles containing one or two of the elements could come from either a firearm or other sources.

Ms Murtha also noted that particles could be lost from an object over time, or be transferred from one object to another.

She said that tests found single-component particles of lead, barium and antimony on a bandanna, allegedly left by Jaquii Pearman Desilva at his girlfriend’s house in the evening after the shooting.

Swabs from the passenger seat of a car, where he sat on the way to the girlfriend’s house, also had particles of all three elements, while a helmet left at the girlfriend’s house had particles of lead and antimony.

“The particles that were reported had the correct chemistry,” Ms Murtha said.

“They had the correct morphology which is commonly associated with GSR. There is nothing to indicate to me that they came from another source, but that doesn’t mean they didn’t.”

The court had previously heard that only the passenger seat of the vehicle had been swabbed for GSR testing.

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