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Usher cleared of Edness murder

Defence lawyer Charles Richardson successfully argued there was no case to answer (File photograph)

A Supreme Court jury was yesterday ordered to find Joshua Usher not guilty of the murder of Prince Edness.

Mr Usher, 22, and Jaquii Pearman Desilva, 20, had both denied shooting Mr Edness dead outside a home on South Avenue, Southampton, on December 7 last year.

After the prosecution had closed its case, Mr Usher’s lawyer, Charles Richardson, successfully argued that his client had no case to answer.

Puisne Judge Carlisle Greaves instructed the jury to find Mr Usher not guilty of all charges.

Mr Usher was discharged but Mr Desilva is expected to return to court on Monday for his trial to continue.

The court had previously heard that Mr Edness was shot at least four times by two men on a motorcycle, seen pulling out of the Southampton Rangers car park.

A pair of suspects on a motorcycle later led police on a high-speed chase, which ended after they fired at a police vehicle near the Waterlot Inn.

Earlier in the day, the court heard about the police investigation into the shooting.

Detective Constable Leroy Mathurin, who acted as the deputy senior investigating officer in the case, told the court that after the shooting, police suspected that Mr Edness was murdered by members of his own gang.

“From early in the investigation we received information that Mr Edness was murdered by his own colleagues, members of Parkside,” he said. “The reason was because the information suggested they were of the opinion that he was giving information to the police.”

He said that officers arrested several known members of the gang to “maximise the opportunity to collect forensic evidence”.

Pc Mathurin said that early information also pointed them in the direction of Mr Desilva due to his appearance at a home on Riviera Road after the shooting.

The investigation then turned towards another man, Dion Hart, who was arrested and charged in connection to the murder, but those charges were later dropped.

Asked why, Pc Mathurin said: “As part of our investigation, we identified that Mr Hart didn’t have the opportunity to participate in the incident at Southampton Rangers, the murder of Prince Edness.

“I viewed CCTV footage that was obtained from Pasta Basta on December 7, 2014, and he was clearly seen on the footage about ten to 12 minutes before the time of the murder.”

He said an officer took part in a test ride, travelling from the Pembroke restaurant to Southampton Rangers to see how long the journey would take.

“We identified that it would be just impossible for him to have left Pasta Basta, reached Southampton Rangers, settle down and participate in the murder,” he said.

Mr Richardson questioned Pc Mathurin about when the test ride took place, suggesting that Mr Hart was not released at first because officers suspected there was still a window of opportunity.

Pc Mathurin said he did not know what day the test took place as he was not involved.

Asked why police did not view the CCTV footage from Southampton Rangers until December 17, Pc Mathurin said that because the shooting did not take place at the cricket club, investigators had instead focused on Mr Desilva and later Mr Hart.

The court also heard about the arrest of Mr Desilva on January 3 this year. Pc Mathurin said that at about 11.15pm that day, officers attended the Clearview Guest House in Hamilton Parish after receiving information that Mr Desilva and a young female were inside.

He said he heard officers knock on the door, shout that they were police and then breach the door. He then heard on the radio that Mr Desilva had run out of the back door.

Pc Mathurin said he listened over the radio as officers chased Mr Desilva over a yard, a rock embankment and into the ocean.

“I heard from the radio that he eventually jumped out into the water,” he said, adding that Mr Desilva eventually swam back to shore, where he was arrested.

Questioned by defence lawyer Marc Daniels, representing Mr Desilva, Pc Mathurin said that in a later search of the guest room he found several items, including loose plant material.

While the officer said he could not confirm what the plant material was, it appeared to him to be cannabis.

• It is The Royal Gazette’s policy not to allow comments on stories regarding criminal court cases. This is to prevent any statements being published that may jeopardise the outcome of that case.