Witness in Caparo murder trial: ‘I cannot remember’

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds –

A St Joseph man was cross-examined by prosecutors after he said he could not recall details of a statement he gave to police, since his memory was “cloudy” because of 30-plus years of smoking marijuana.

On March 11, Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds allowed prosecutor Charmaine Samuel to cross-examine her witness, Gary Farrell, in the trial of Richard McBain. McBain is before the judge and a jury charged with the murder of businessman Stephen Hackshaw on April 16, 2006, in Caparo. Farrell began his testimony by saying he did not want to give evidence.

“I have changed. That was 17 years ago, I am expecting a grand(child), I had a heart attack in 2018, and I am a chronic asthma case. My life just changed from then to now.”

Those were some of the reasons, he said, he did not want to give evidence. “The other is that I fear for my life.” Farrell said his memory was cloudy because of smoking marijuana for 30-something years and also because he got “lash” in his head. He also said, “I lie back in April 2006.”

Though he said he could not recall much, he said he remembered telling the police he did not want to be a witness in any matter. “I gave a statement reluctantly. I can’t recall what the statement was about. My mind was cloudy. I could remember them asking me questions and giving me a pen to sign, but I cannot remember the event. Lots of things I cannot recall,” he said.

Farrell was also given a document to read, but said he could not, because he did not have his glasses and did not understand the handwriting. He insisted he could not read the statement.

“It was not legible then or now.”

Admitting he signed the document, Farrell said he did so because the police gave him a pen.

His testimony had not yet ended when acting DCP Curt Simon was called after the lunch break.

Simon took the statement from Farrell and insisted he did not coerce or threaten the witness. Simon was questioned by McBain’s attorney, public defender Stephen Wilson, about the statement.

He said Farrell read over the document and put his initials on errors he saw in the statement.

After Simon’s testimony, Farrell was recalled and cross-examined by the prosecutor. He insisted he did not read over the statement Simon wrote. To every question she asked, Farrell’s response was, “I cannot remember.”

In his alleged statement, Farrell said Bean bought weed from him, but in his evidence before the jury, he denied that was true.

He also denied telling the police Bean came to his home in April 2006 and wanted to rent a gun because he had a “scene (robbery) to go to…in Caparo.”

Farrell also denied telling the police he heard on the 7 pm newscast, on April 16, 2006, of three murders during that Easter weekend and he “was thinking the one in Caparo was Bean.”

In the statement, he allegedly said he then heard the dog barking outside his home because Bean was there. He also allegedly said Bean started to talk and told him he went to the scene. The statement said Bean told him there were a man and woman, but he only got $100 and a cellphone, which he used to call people. He also allegedly said the man had a .38 revolver and Bean, when he came to his house, also had a .38. The statement said Bean had an injury on his right thigh which was bleeding. “Everything you saying is foreign to me.”

In that statement, he also allegedly said he was threatened and called CrimeStoppers, not for the money but because “this man was a killer.” He denied he told police he was frightened.

“Everything you saying there, is the first time I hearing…,” he said as he was questioned about every line of his alleged statement. Farrell was accused of “conveniently” remembering, which he denied. He also denied coming to court to “lie.”

The only thing he admitted to was changing his life.

After he was cross-examined, Farrell said he could not recall any of the events mentioned in the statement. The judge then read out his statement to the jury. Farrell was also questioned by McBain’s attorney.