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Beachy Stout Trial

Surprise new statements adjourn matter until Thursday

Published:Wednesday | October 25, 2023 | 12:10 AMTanesha Mundle/Staff Reporter

The surprise discovery of two new statements from the contract killer in the murder of Tonia McDonald, along with eight other undisclosed witness statements, yesterday forced an adjournment of the trial of Everton ‘Beachy Stout’ McDonald until Thursday.

Presiding judge, Justice Chester Stamp, before adjourning the matter, ordered the prosecution to disclose seven of the statements by the end of the day.

Three other statements, including the two new statements from the prosecution’s star witness, Denvalyn ‘Bubbla’ Minott, were disclosed on Tuesday.

The startling development in the case with respect to the new statements was brought to light by defence attorney-at-law Christopher Townsend who revealed during his continued cross-examination of Minott that he was mistakenly presented with the statements.

The attorney, while noting that the two statements are dated June and October 2020, told the judge that the situation amounted to a serious issue with disclosure.

He further indicated that the statements are significant and could have assisted the defence in its preparation but were never disclosed.

Minott, who is the prosecution’s main witness, had testified that he had given the police three statements.

The lead prosecutor, however, expressed surprise, noting that everything should have been served.

The prosecutor further explained that disclosure was ongoing and that the defence had been served with everything on the file up to two weeks ago.

But, while noting that the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has many officers, the prosecutor conceded that it was the Crown’s responsibility to ensure that disclosure is made.

SHOCKING DEVELOPMENT

Stamp, before ordering a 30-minute break for the defence to assess the statements, described the situation as an extraordinary and shocking development.

“It is the kind of thing that should result in sanctions, but I am not sure what kind of sanction will advance the interest of justice at this time,” he said.

When the matter resumed, the prosecutor indicated that, having made checks, at least eight witness statements were not disclosed to the defence but that disclosure would be settled by the end of the day.

The defence as a result asked for a day to go through the new material and the matter in the end was adjourned until Thursday.

Stamp, after updating the jury on the situation, said, “This is really sad or inconvenient news as we were hoping to move full speed ahead but we find ourselves in a situation which ought not to have happened but we are doing the best that we can to resolve it.”

The accused McDonald and his co-accused, Oscar Barnes, are currently on trial for the murder of the former’s 32-year-old wife.

Minott, who is currently serving 19 years in prison for his role in the murder, testified that Beachy Stout had contracted him in 2020 to kill his wife for a fee of $3 million, but that he subcontracted the job to Barnes.

The woman’s partly burnt body was found with the throat slashed in her car which had been set ablaze along a deserted road in Sherwood Forest in Portland on July 20, 2020.

tanesha.mundle@gleanerjm.com