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Christmas party murder trial opens

Supreme Court 1 in Sessions House (File photograph)

An alleged killer shot and killed 30-year-old Ronniko Burchall as he left a Christmas party, the Supreme Court heard.

Shauntae Simons-Fox, for the Crown, told the court that Mr Burchall had just left St David’s Cricket Club at about 1.30am on December 30, 2018 when he was shot in the head.

Ms Simons-Fox said: “As he left the club and was in the process of heading towards his transportation, Taaj Muhammad ran across a field with his gun pointed at Mr Burchall.

“He then fired several shots, and one hit Ronniko’s head.”

Ms Simons-Fox said Mr Muhammad ran back in the direction from which he came as members of the public went to assist Mr Burchall.

Mr Burchall was taken to the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital for treatment, but died.

Mr Muhammad, 26, earlier pleaded not guilty to the murder of Mr Burchall.

The St George’s man has also denied a charge that he used a firearm to commit the offence.

Diana Dissington, a consultant forensic support officer for the police, told the court on the first day of the trial last Friday that she was called to the scene of the shooting.

Mrs Dissington said she arrived at the cricket club at 2.55am and was asked to photograph the area and collect evidence.

She said she collected two bullets and a black helmet and took swabs of suspected blood and tissue.

Mrs Dissington said she left at about 5.40am and returned at 11.30am, gathered more evidence and collected a black T-shirt.

She was also in attendance at Mr Burchall’s autopsy on January 3 and was given a bullet found in the left side of his brain.

Mrs Dissington added that on January 11 she was given two sealed evidence bags by a police officer.

She told the court she could not see the items through the evidence bags, but one was labelled as a light grey hoodie sweat top and the other was a pair of jeans.

Mrs Dissington said she delivered the evidence bags to Helix Labs and later picked them up them along with a series of gun shot residue swabs.

She told the court under cross-examination that when she collected them she was told that the bags had been improperly labelled and that the bag said to contain the sweat shirt contained the jeans and vice versa.

Mrs Dissington said: “I believe it was human error. The wrong label on the wrong bag.”

She added the bags did not show any cuts or tears to suggest they had been opened, but she conceded that she could not say for sure how the bags were mislabelled.

Charles Richardson, who appeared for the defence, asked her: “If a police officer had simply placed the items in a whole new bag, you wouldn’t know, would you?”

Mrs Dissington said that was the case, but that she had seen nothing to suggest the evidence had been tampered with.

The trial continues.

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.