Linden businessman in court over beating of suspect

By Jeff Trotman

Linden businessman James “Chicken” Steele and two others will return to court on May 21st in a matter in which they are accused of beating up Richard Barrow on May 30th, 2013.

When the matter was heard in the Christianburg Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday, 30-year-old Barrow of 90 Republic Avenue, Linden, who lives two houses from Steele’s business place said that on the day of the incident, he was walking past Steele’s business place when Steele, who was standing with two men – Arthur Johnson and Christopher Johnson – called him to do something for him.

Barrow told the court that Steele and the two men accompanied him to the back of Steele’s business place then Steele pushed him to a post and Arthur Johnson tied his hands behind his back with a wire. He said Steele soaked a piece of cloth in gasoline and held it by a wire close to his face in front his nostrils and he began to stifle from the smell of the gasoline in front of his face.

He said Steele then picked up a “chopper” and beat him on his left forehand. “I tried to holler,” Barrow said. “But I couldn’t – the fright. I coulda drop dead.” Barrow said that when he finally started to holler, “Steele said, You want to holler? And he put on the generator to drown my voice”.

Barrow said that while the threesome was beating him, Arthur Johnson gave him a hard punch to his chest then Steele turned to his accomplices and said: “Leh we drink two beers”. He said after the threesome left, he managed to free his hands and escaped by jumping two fences and went to the home of a lady for whom he had done jobs.

Barrow said that he phoned for the police from the lady’s home and two police officers arrived in a vehicle but he chose not to go in the vehicle because he did not trust them. He said he walked with them to the Mackenzie Police Station where he was placed on a bench. According to Barrow, at that time, he had several injuries and his body was awash with blood from the torture he suffered from the three men.

Barrow said he was subsequently taken to the Mackenzie Hospital where he received a medical examination, including an x-ray from which it was determined that he had a fractured leg, which was put in a cast.

Police prosecutor Pindar then asked Barrow if he saw any of the three men after 10.20 am of the 30 May 2013 and he said yes. But when the prosecutor asked Barrow to state at which police station he had seen the men, George Gilhuys, defence attorney for Steele, objected on the grounds that it was a leading question.

Under cross examination, Barrow said that he saw the three men after they had beaten him when the police took them to the Mackenzie Police Station. He also said the police took further statements from him while the three men were at the police station and asked him to identify the men, who had allegedly beaten him.

Barrow also told the court that he had no injuries when he left his home on 30th May, 2013. When the defence attorney for Steele crossed examined Barrow, he asked him if he had told the police on the 30th May 2013 that he had jumped two fences and Barrow said yes. Gilhuys then asked the prosecutor to confirm that in Barrow’s statement and that could not be done.

Gilhuys told Barrow that he did not tell the police that he had jumped any fence because it was a fact that he had not done so. According to the lawyer, Barrow was passing by Steele’s business place; Steele called him and he ran away. Gilhuys further told Barrow that he was arrested that same morning for breaking and entering Steele’s business place. Barrow admitted that he was arrested for allegedly breaking and entering and larceny.

“The police showed you a video on a laptop – somebody in Chicken Bar, thieving,” the defence attorney said. “And they said they would develop the footage in Georgetown.”

Gilhuys also asked Barrow if he had previously been locked up. Barrow said that he had been locked up but it was for a misunderstanding he had with a girl. He said on that occasion he had spent a night in detention but he was not charged. Gilhuys suggested that the story Barrow told the court was untrue. Presiding Magistrate Clive Nurse then adjourned the matter for 21st May.

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