By Kenton X. Chance
A jury of seven women and five men deliberated for three hours and 26 minutes, today (Monday), before arriving at a verdict of guilty in the trial of Veron Primus, 35, of Vermont, for the November 2015 murder of 33-year-old real estate agent, Sharleen Greaves.
The prosecution, led by Karim Nelson, an assistant director of public prosecution, and including Crown Counsel Kaylia Toney, and John Ballah, a counsel for the Crown, presented a case in which one of Primus’ adult female relatives, with whom he had a consensual sexual relationship, testified that he told her that he murdered Greaves.
Justice Brian Cottle presided over the trial at High Court, No. 1, which began on June 14.
After the verdict, Nelson told the court that the prosecution would make every effort to be ready for mitigation ahead of sentencing, noting that the court was coming to the end of the law term.
The judge adjourned the sentencing to Sept. 21, 2022, pending Wyllie’s readiness.
Primus was remanded into custody to await sentencing.
Wyllie said he would he travelling on Saturday for medical attention and would not be able to mitigate before his return. He said this would depend on his diagnosis.
“Hopefully, I won’t need another surgery,” he said.
Primus is also wanted in New York, having been indicted in June 2016 in connection with the 2006 murder of 16-year-old Chanel Petro-Nixon.
In October 2019, Primus was jailed in St. Vincent for 16 months for escaping lawful custody. Then, in December 2020, he was jailed again for for 24 months for escaping lawful custody — a second time — and three months for damaging a sheet of plywood at Her Majesty’s Prisons, in Kingstown, from which he escaped.
Primus has also served prison sentences in New York for first degree criminal contempt and third degree burglary.
Greaves’ secretary, Ronella Bailey, found her body in Greaves’ office at Bijou Real Estate in the Highway Trading Building, in Arnos Vale, around 9 a.m. on Nov. 13, 2015.
The body was found less than 12 hours after a female, speaking in a hushed voice, telephoned the police general line, saying that someone had broken into her office at the building. The woman then began to scream and the telephone line went dead, as if someone had ended the call.
Detectives responded but found no sign of forced entry. They questioned people in the area, conducted further investigation and pursued a lead before returning to the building again and ultimately leaving.
Primus, who was deported from the United States in June 2015, would not come to the attention of police until April 2016.
At that time, detectives were investigating a report by Vermont resident Mewanah Hadaway, then 24 years old, that he had kept her against her will in his home in Vermont from Jan. 1, to April 15, 2016.
Charges were brought against Primus in connection with that allegation but they were withdrawn as Hadaway was not available to testify in a preliminary inquiry in 2017.
When a charge is withdrawn, the prosecution can bring the charge against the accused against at a future date.
Twenty witnesses, 17 of whom were called by the Crown, testified in the trial, which began on June 14, and for most days only took place in the morning, as defence counsel, Michael Wyllie, was involved in an unrelated High Court trial before another judge in High Court No. 2.
Counsel Vynnette Frederick and Sunel Fraser also appeared with Wyllie at different points in the trial.
Before inviting the jury to retire to consider their verdict, Justice Brian Cottle reminded jurors of the large issues that he addressed in his summation of the case on Friday.
He told them that the case turns to a large extent on the view that they took of the evidence of the key witness, and, to a lesser extent, on the testimony of Ronella Bailey, who was Greaves’ secretary.
The judge told the jury that if they are sure that the key witness is reliable and telling the truth that Primus confessed to her that he killed Greaves, it is open to them to find him guilty.
However, if they are sure that they cannot rely on her evidence or are not sure that they can, they must acquit, the judge said.
Justice Cottle said that Bailey was of assistance in that if the jury found her to be reliable and that she had told the truth that Primus was in possession of Greaves’ vehicle shortly after she was killed and had no reason for that, her evidence supports the case for the Crown.
He told the jurors that if they were not sure that they could rely on Bailey’s evidence, they must disregard it, and act similarly if they were not sure that she could be relied upon.
The judge said there was no suggestion that the key witness and Bailey had colluded to link Primus to the killing.
He further pointed out that Primus was saying he made no confession to the key witness and that Bailey was lying to cover up the fact that she rented out Greaves’ vehicle without her permission.
Justice Cottle told the jury that even if they reject Primus’ story, they should not convict him based solely on that.
Primus took to the stand in his own defence and also called as a witness on his behalf, Aliscia Myers-Primus — the wife of his cousin, who is also Bailey’s estranged sister — who lives in England and was living in St. Vincent and working at Deckies Autozone in Arnos Vale at the time of the murder.
The defence called as a rebuttal witness information technology expert Sergeant Angelo Duncan, of the Information Technology and Digital Forensics Department of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force.
Duncan’s evidence was an analysis of screenshots that Primus said he had taken of a WhatsApp conversation he said he had with Bailey on the day that Greaves was found dead.
Criminal trials fundamentally about discovering the truth
In presenting his closing arguments, on Wednesday, Nelson told the jury that criminal trials are fundamentally about discovering the truth.
“And the truth of the matter is that Veron Primus murdered Sharleen Greaves,” he said, adding that it is the duty of the jury to determine whether the Crown had proven its case beyond reasonable doubt.
“We are saying that the evidence points to Veron Primus. The defence is saying, no, it wasn’t Veron Primus,” Nelson said.
He told the jury that the evidence for the Crown was that Greaves went to work or was at work on Nov. 12, 2015.
On the morning of Nov. 13, her body was discovered in her office and her vehicle was nowhere to be found.
Later that day, the vehicle was found in Wilson Hill.
Police identified several suspects, all of whom were later excluded.
The evidence was that around April 2016, Primus was in police custody in relation to something unrelated to the murder, Nelson said.
By April 18, 2016, the key witness, the female relative with whom Primus had the sexual relationship, gave a statement to the police.
That day, a warrant was executed at Primus’ home, in Vermont, and a key to Greaves’ vehicle was found in Primus’ bedroom.
The prosecutor told the jury that when police asked Primus where he had gotten the key, he said he had rented a vehicle from one “Thicks”, but had only returned one of the two keys he was given.
The prosecutor pointed out that Corporal Marvin Westfield of the Major Crimes Unit testified that he was among a party of detectives that conducted a search of Primus’ home.
Westfield said when he saw the “Suzuki” key, his radar went off as he had driven Greaves’ vehicle from Wilson Hill and knew it was a Suzuki.
That key that was discovered in April 2016 was subsequently tested on Greaves’ vehicle, which was in the custody of GECCU.
Primus was present with his legal representative as well as the police when the key was inserted into the vehicle. The key unlocked the doors and started the ignition.
“It is clear that the breakthrough in this case came after [the key witness] came into contact with the police,” Nelson said.
The witness, who said she was afraid of Primus, testified via video link and in camera, meaning that members of the public were not allowed in court during her testimony.
iWitness NEws is withholding her name in light of this.
The prosecutor noted that the witness told the court about the biological and sexual relationship between she and Primus and that they were living together at a house in Campden Park.
The witness said that on the night of Nov. 12, 2015, Primus left her house with his black bag and knife. He told her he was going hunting.
The witness said Primus returned sometime close to midnight, and while she could not recall exactly when, it was “late”.
He had a knife and held it up to the light and she saw what appeared to be blood on the blade. She also smelled what she described as a “renkness” (a rank smell).
Primus subsequently went into the bedroom and they went to bed.
The woman testified that the following morning, Nov. 13, 2015, she was walking up the road with Primus. She was talking to him but didn’t hear any response. When she turned back, she saw him heading to a vehicle.
He gave her a lift into Kingstown, dropping her off at Imaging Centre at Stoney Ground. He reached into his bag and gave her $100. She said it was the first time that she had seen him with so much money.
The witness said that when she heard of Greaves’ death, she immediately recalled that Primus had shown her a photo of Greaves. The next time she saw Primus, she asked him if he had heard about his friend — Greaves. Primus, however, said he didn’t know anything about Greaves and that she was not his friend.
Jump forward to the witness’ 2016 birthday in the first quarter of the year. She told the court that she was accustomed to celebrating with her friends but could not recall what she did that particular year.
What the witness recounted for the court, however, is that after the celebration, she took a taxi and went to Primus’ house in Vermont.
When she got there, he sat her down, went for a tablet, showed her a photo of Greaves and said, “I did it.”
She asked him, “You killed her?”
And he said, “Yes. I did it.”
The prosecutor told the jury this was the most important part of the key witness’ evidence.
He told them that if they do not believe what the witness said, Primus should be acquitted because it means that the prosecution has not proven its case.
Nelson, however, submitted that the jury should believe the witness because her evidence checks out.
“If this man never went into that interview room and give that interview, some of the things that [the witness] told you, all now, you might have still been wondering,” he said, referring to an electronic interview that Primus did with detectives Sergeant Malcolm Alexander, and the lead investigator, acting Corporal of Police Edmund Ollivierre.
“But everything, or almost everything, that she told you, he has agreed with. Substantially, the only variant is where he is talking about the night of the 12th, the morning of the 13th; he is challenging that.”
The prosecutor pointed out that Primus said he did not have the bag, and he had left it with Bailey when he visited her at Bijou Real Estate on Nov. 10, 2016. Primus also denied telling the key witness that he killed Greaves.
The prosecutor pointed out that in his electronic interview, Primus said he had his grey bag, he returned home sometime later on the night of Nov. 12, 2015, slept, then took the key witness to Kingstown the following morning.
Primus further confirmed that he had spoken to the key witness about Greaves, that he had shown her photos of Greaves, that he gave her money, and that she (the key witness) was present when Primus bought the knives.
“So, in other words, 90% of the things that [the key witness] gave in evidence, he agrees with. It is only the things that would sink him he disagrees with…” Nelson said.
“So her evidence is confirmed, in large part, by Veron Primus.”
Key witness’ testimony ‘a detriment’ to herself
The prosecutor told the jury that they should believe the key witness because she has nothing to gain by testifying against her relative.
“It is actually a detriment. Whether you like her or not, you have to respect people like that because people would have a lot to say about some of the things that she came here and said,” Nelson said.
“Some of the things she had to admit to you — 12 strangers; court officials, police officers, in a small, judgemental society like this, they going roast she. They going pull she down and we saw the pulling down in this court, too, when she was even called a whore by defence counsel.”
Wyllie rose and objected, saying he did not call the witness a “whore”.
Nelson said he would not respond because the jury had witnessed it.
The point I am making,” Nelson said, “is that she has nothing to gain but more to lose by coming here to give this evidence and she told you why she was determined to follow through and to give this evidence: because at the end of the day, the upholder is worse than the thief and if she ain’t come forward and tell us, this is something weighty that she has to carry and to let you know who was responsible for the death of Sharlene Greaves.”
The prosecutor said that the key witness went through the most gruelling cross examination but was not broken.
He said the prosecution was not asking the jury to be sympathetic or to like the key witness.
“But if you are concerned here about who this person is, I am asking you to give due consideration to her evidence,” Nelson said, adding that if the jury did so earnestly, they would accept her as a witness of truth.
Biding time with a ‘killer’
Nelson then told the jury that the persecution would want to tell them not to believe the key witness for a number of reasons.
Among these, he mentioned and responded to arguments about what Primus was wearing on the night in question, whether the blade of the knife was black or silver, and whether it was possible to see a substance resembling blood on a black blade at night when it is held up to the light.
“However, the fact that a witness might say one thing in evidence and something else in a statement does not mean they are lying. We are dealing with humans and things that transpired years ago. Different persons have strengths and weaknesses. Some people have stronger memories than others; others a stronger ability to express what they observed,” the prosecutor said.
He addressed the fact that the key witness said she was unable to recall what exactly she did to celebrate her birthday in 2016 but could remember that on that day Primus told her that he murdered Greaves.
“I am sure that many years from now, even though you may not remember what exactly you were doing before or after, you will remember that you sat in a matter in this court and you heard a lawyer call a witness a ‘whore’,” Nelson told the jury.
“Because that is not something that you hear in these courts and it will stand out in our mind and you will remember it, even if you don’t remember what you did after…
“You won’t remember because those are routine things. And, likewise, it is not everyday that somebody is going come to you and confess that I murdered, I killed somebody. That is something that is going to stand out in the rest of your life,” the prosecutor said.
He said that the defence would argue that the key witness said that she is afraid of Primus but decided to continue to have a relationship with him.
Nelson explained that her decision made perfect sense.
“Can you imagine having a friend who told you they killed someone and you asked them why you killed someone and they said they don’t know? How do you treat with that? The person has not established a criterion for killing… If that is the case, are you safe with that person? … You’re going immediately and do something to upset the person or you going to bide your time and play it safe? This is survival,” the prosecutor said.
A locked door and a break-in
The prosecutor said that the defence would talk about no forced entry into Greaves’ office building.
He noted that detective Sergeant 776 Billy, who led the response to the emergency call on Nov. 12, 2015, said he did not see any evidence of forced entry, which other witnesses confirmed.
“So the suggestion that the defence would want to make is that the caller said ‘somebody break into my office’, as if to suggest that the expression ‘break in’, when used generally, always means that there is some physical entry.”
Nelson pointed out that the police, in their evidence, said that when people call about break-ins, there is not always physical evidence of a break-in.
“It could mean that you don’t have permission to enter,” Nelson said, adding that there is no evidence of the condition of the door when the last person left the real estate agency and no evidence about whether the door was locked.
He argued that the most security-conscious person could be in an office working and forget to get up and lock the door.
“It doesn’t follow that the only way someone could have entered the office was by way of a key. Which one of you never forget to lock something?” he told the jury.
“So it must be that that door was open and it must be that Sharlene was in the director’s office, heard something outside; the person then goes to the door, the door is locked, she is calling the police. We see the imprint, which means that the person stabbed that door. The only reason they would stab that door is because they can’t get it open. There was a footprint on the desk which means the person climbed over [the partition between the general office and Greaves’ office], which means that when she was on the phone with the police, the person climbs over and attacks her,” Nelson said.
The prosecutor said the defence would say that if Greaves was able to call the police, why didn’t she say that Primus broke into her office. “She could be in her office, hears something, makes a call. At that time, she ain’t see the person. It could be that he covered his face because we understand he walked with two shirts.
But what we do know, he didn’t give the details of how he did it; he said he did it. He had the keys to the vehicle, a knife case belonging to him was there (at the scene).”
Enough to convict even without DNA evidence
The prosecutor also said that the defence would make much of the fact that items sent for DNA analysis were not returned.
But Nelson asked how the defence could make such an argument when Primus was in a position to assist by giving a DNA sample and refused, as was his right.
The prosecutor reminded the jury that the police had said one of the challenges was that they did not have a good reference sample of Primus’ DNA because he refused to give one.
At the same time, Primus claimed that the police did not ask him for a sample.
“Why would you engage in trickery to get something that you can get by asking nicely? Think about it. Would they then resort to trickery but not ask?” Nelson told the jury.
Detectives from New York who came to St. Vincent as part of the investigation had given Primus gum to chew and picked it up when he threw it in a bin.
Nelson said the court heard that there were some challenges with that approach because it was not law enforcement officers in SVG who had done it because in SVG, obtaining evidence through such a method is not lawful.
“The other thing is that other people used the bin,” Nelson said, adding that it had black marks because it was not new.
“If you throw something down in there, mixed up with all other kinds of DNA, would that be a good sample?” the prosecutor argued and told the jury that even in the absence of DNA evidence, they had enough to convict Primus.
The prosecutor argued that the defence would say that Primus cooperated because he handed over a tablet computer to investigators.
“What cooperation? The fact that you don’t have something now, you can say all you want to say, and mislead a jury,” Nelson said.
He reminded the jury that the investigator said he received the extraction report and there was nothing of evidential value on the tablet.
“If you are cooperating, you want to show the police you did not commit the offence and help lead them to the suspect,” Nelson said, but noted that it is Primus’ right to not cooperate.
“But I am saying to you there was no cooperation. There was nothing stopping him if he had messages to say he didn’t commit this crime,” Nelson said, adding that Primus did not have to show anything, as it is the prosecution’s responsibility to prove its case.
“But it looks a kind of way that you have this information but you don’t say to the police, ‘I have this information, bring the tablet let me open it.’”
Nelson said there was nothing preventing Primus from doing that.
“… he was arrested in 2016, why you’re going to wait five, six years to come here and present WhatsApp conversation when you could have done that early o’clock,” Nelson said, referring to screenshots of a WhatsApp conversation that Primus presented in his defence during the trial.
“Because these WhatsApp conversations, he is not only extricating himself but pointing to the possibility that Ronella committed this crime,” Nelson said.
He noted that Primus said he had the screenshots from the WhatsApp conversations in his Google account.
“So you are going to sit down in jail five, six years when you could have given them the information [the same day]? It doesn’t make sense.
“As the police said, those devices had nothing useful on them,” Nelson said.
Investigators cleared other suspects
Nelson told the jury that the defence would point to the fact that police had arrested other suspects in connection with the killing.
He noted that the police had mentioned who those people were and why some of them came to the attention of the police.
“Police are saying we got those leads, we investigated those leads and as a result of those investigations, we excluded them,” he said, noting that all of the other people who were arrested had alibis.
“But guess who didn’t have an alibi? Because in this particular case, the person who could have been a possible alibi is the person saying the man confessed to me,” Nelson said. “That is the person saying the man came home to me and the knife had on what appeared to be blood.”
Nelson, however, told the jury that he has to be careful that he does not suggest that Primus had something to prove.
“He does not. We have to prove our case.”
He said he was just making the point that “the red herrings” that are being thrown about other people having motives to kill Greaves. “The police investigated those people and they were excluded as suspects,” the prosecutor said.
He said the defence case is a mixture of denial while seeking to create reasonable doubt by trying to cast blame.
“It also seeks to throw the blame for this crime on the shoulders of Ronella because part of his case is that she works for a ‘lousy’ $500. I don’t know Vincentians to talk like that but it is a matter for you,” Nelson told the jury.
“But the point is that she said she worked for a pittance and Greaves goes clubbing and spends thousands. The suggestion is that she is the one who killed Greaves,” the prosecutor said, summing up what he saw as Primus’ defence.
“Does that make logical sense?” Nelson said. “That you kill the goose that lays the golden egg? The logical person would go and make a case for a raise of pay. But when you kill them, you are out of a job and worse off that you were. That theory doesn’t make sense.”
Primus ‘ain’t no stupid man’
Nelson pointed out that according to Primus’ account, he is accustomed to renting Greaves’ vehicle from Bailey when Greaves is not in St. Vincent.
On the night of Nov. 12 and even before that, he had asked Bailey about the possibility of renting the vehicle. Primus said Bailey contacted him on the night of Nov. 12, 2015, asking him if he still wanted to rent the vehicle and told him to come to the office at Arnos Vale to collect it.
He said that the story is simply implausible.
“You are working with somebody. They have one vehicle. It is the vehicle they use to drive to work, it is the vehicle they use to drive home. Even if you want to say they used to take a risk and rent when the person was not here, is the person going to take the vehicle that the boss uses to go home and rent somebody overnight? That makes sense to you?”
Nelson further noted that in St. Vincent, vehicles are rented at EC$150, EC$125, and EC$100 a day.
“They say that how things tough right now all you can do is eat bread and butter. But we are going back to 2015 when vehicles renting was as low as $150 — $125. It makes sense to you that you are going to put out your hard-earned money for two, three, four, five hours, when you can rent it for 24 hours to do whatever you want to do?”
“It simply makes no sense. Whatever you want to think about Veron Primus, he ain’t no stupid man. That much is clear. And only a stupid man would do something like that because everybody looking for value for their money,” Nelson said.
The prosecutor also asked what was the great urgency in getting the vehicle so late on the night of Nov. 13, 2015.
“What is the great urgency in taking a van from Campden Park to Arnos Vale, collect a vehicle, drive to Vermont, go home and go sleep and the vehicle has to be returned the following morning?
“What great urgency could have necessitated going to get it that hour when you could get it the following day and get more time?
“What was so special about that vehicle? Why is that vehicle the only vehicle that you must get? It is not adding up. The maths nah add up.”
He noted that Primus abandoned the vehicle after being told that Greaves was dead.
“A law-abiding citizen, not doing anything wrong, you rented a vehicle, you received word that the owner is dead, you going just bank the vehicle at the side of the road?
“His actions to abandon the vehicle at the side of the road, it came from a conscience of guilt so he didn’t want to be caught with the vehicle.”
Nelson said that Primus had received no information about how Greaves died.
“He said for all he was concerned, it could have been a heart attack. Why was his first response to abandon it at the side of the road and say he did not want to get involved? Involved in what, if you did nothing wrong?”
The prosecutor further noted that Primus had said that he did not know Greaves very well, and did not want to get to know her.
However, he told the court that when Bailey told him that Greaves was dead and invited him to come to the office, he said he did not want to remember her “like that”.
“Remember her like what?” Nelson said, adding that the internal inconsistencies in Primus’ messages are interesting.
“On the one hand, he is saying that she said to him, ‘Nobody supposed to know I rent the vehicle’, but in the same breath she is telling him to come. ‘We are all here. Come.’ That doh make sense,” Nelson said.
He told the jury that they could not rely on the evidence of the defence, adding that during the trial, they tried to suppress the key to Greaves’ vehicle, only to come back and accept that it is the key.
He noted that Primus had said he arranged to pay Bailey the following morning –– Nov. 13, 2015 — for rental of Greaves’ vehicles because it was too late to get money but later said he had a bag of money in Vermont.
Camden Park is located about 5.3 miles from Vermont and about 5.4 miles from Arnos Vale. A journey between Campden Park and Vermont via public transportation includes taking one bus, while one has to take two buses to Arnos Vale.
“How difficult was it to take a van from Campden Park to Vermont to collect your money? Something is not adding up. He has to account for this bag of money he had on Nov. 13 2015, so he comes up with this story,” Nelson said.
The prosecutor further said that when Bailey invited him to come to the Highway Trading building after Greaves was found dead, he felt as he was being set up so he got out of the vehicle.
“This is the man who felt that Sharlene could have died of a heart attack but instinctively, he felt he was being set up.”
WhatsApp convo ‘strained to accomplish everything’
Nelson also addressed the WhatsApp conversation that Primus entered into evidence, which he said took place between him and Bailey on the day that Greaves was found dead.
“There is a part where he is saying that you never told me the woman was in St. Vincent. I never know the woman was in St. Vincent,” suggesting that he did not know that Greaves was in St. Vincent.
However, in the 2016 interview with detectives, when Ollivierre asked him if he knew where Greaves was when he rented the vehicle, Primus said she was in St. Vincent.
Primus further told police that he had spoken to Greaves on WhatsApp.
The prosecutor, referring to the WhatsApp conversation, urged the jury to “just tear this up and throw it away.
“This is just too convenient and too perfect because every element of his defence is embodied in this … The way the conversation is structured is being strained to accomplish everything that is on this because normal people don’t talk so,” Nelson said, holding up a printout of the screenshots.
Nelson reminded the jury that Primus conceded that he had conversations with people about Greaves’ death.
The prosecutor noted that Primus said that people spoke to him about Greaves’ death because they knew he knew her.
He said he told “friends, family” about Greaves and showed Hadaway and the key witness photos that Greaves had sent to him.
He further said in the interview that he and Hadaway were fooling around once and she asked him “a stupid question” about if he knew what happened to Greaves, “since I am supposed to be the type of person who knows everything.
The prosecutor said the evidence of detective Sergeant Duncan, the IT specialist, suggested that the WhatsApp screenshots should be dismissed as “total lies”.
“Fool ah talk buh nah fool ah listen,” Nelson said. “That you cropping things to save space?” he said, referring to the suggestion of defence counsel Frederick during cross examination.
“This man is an intelligent man. It is clear to everybody that he is intelligent. And if it is … that he is saying that after he was released from custody the first time he said, ‘Let me take a screenshot of these things’, isn’t it clear to you that he is taking these for evidential purpose? … Total lies! He never took any screenshots because there were no screenshots to be taken.”
The prosecutor said that the screenshots had nothing indicating the telephone number of the person with whom Primus said he was communicating.
“You have the time but nothing in relation to the date, then you are cropping the entire things. You are taking out that bar (status bar of the phone). So, clearly, these supposed screenshots must have been manipulated. But I submit they have been manipulated into thinking these things are real.
“If he had taken the screenshots with the dates, it would have been clear to you that is something when he round so (prison) these things cook up. All he needed was a phone and data. So he could have done these by himself or in collaboration with someone else,” the prosecutor argued.
Precise during trial, vague in 2016
Nelson told the jury that during the trial, Primus was very precise about what time he had gotten back to the key witness’ home on Nov. 12, 2015, even as in 2016, he told police he was not sure.
The police at telecomm said the emergency call came in about 11:30. The key witness said she was not sure what time he came home but it was late.
Detectives asked Primus if he could not give an estimated time and they suggested a timeframe of between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Primus responded saying, “At that moment, how am I supposed to focus on time… Am I supposed to check the time and adjust in case something happens, I am going to check this time…?”
Nelson said, “Primus is trying to narrow down the time to say he could not have murdered Greaves because he was home.”
Witness of convenience vs witness of truth?
The prosecutor then turned to Myers-Primus’ testimony, saying that the witness told the court two fundamental things: that Bailey told her she usually picked up and dropped off Greaves and that Bailey told her on Nov. 13, 2015 that she had lent Greaves’ vehicle to “Jessie’s uncle” — Primus.
“I cross examined her. Defence complained that I did not ask her any relevant questions… I hope that you have succeeded in seeing it,” Nelson told the jury.
“You want to tell me that it is not relevant to know the character of the witness who is coming to give evidence before you? When a witness … takes an oath, they are putting their credibility in issue,” Nelson said.
He reiterated that criminal trials are about establishing the truth, adding that credibility goes to whether someone should be believed.
He said that in his cross examination, he was seeking to examine Myers-Primus’ motivations for giving the story that she did.
“The first thing, she is married to Veron’s cousin. The second thing is that she and her sister, they don’t talk. They are not friends, they don’t talk and she accepted that ‘I told Ronella ‘f*** family’ and she accepted that Ronella told her she is ungrateful and she told her, ‘You will get more things to say I am ungrateful for.’
“None of us practised in three jurisdictions, we ain’t bright like them but common sense make before book,” Nelson told echoing Wyllie’s comments during the trial about his experience.
The prosecutor said he does not take domestic violence as something trivial and, in asking certain questions, was not trying to get into Myers-Primus’ business, but at her motivation.
He noted that in response to his questions, Myers-Primus said that her husband does not beat her, nor do they fight.
“If she is going to lie about something like that, you don’t think that is relevant,” Nelson said. “Whereas she is going to say those things to you, there is that video of that dynamic of domestic violence.”
He contrasted the testimony of the key witness with that of Myers-Primus, saying:
“That is the difference. She (key witness) was asked questions about very embarrassing things but she swore to tell the truth. And no matter how difficult the question was and how embarrassing it was, she answered.
“Contrast her with Mrs. Primus. She, too, took an oath and swore to tell the truth. And did she tell you the truth, and the whole truth? No.”
The prosecutor noted that Myers-Primus appeared in a video holding a long knife, and her husband told her that she had bruised his face.
“She said, ‘I right to scrape you’ and she said, ‘I have to get away from you from all the licks.’
The husband responds, “You was choking me.” And then she says, “When you think I delete the pictures them with your handprint in me face, I still have them on my f***ing phone.”
“What do you think ‘handprint’ be?” Nelson said, adding that he was not poking fun at or disrespecting Myers-Primus but credibility was an issue “and I have to do my work….
“And who want to vex, vex. But when I come out to do my job, I come out to do my job.”
He said the trial saw photos of the condition of Myers-Primus’ face so she was clearly lying when she said there was no domestic violence.
Nelson noted that Myers-Primus was arrested twice in the UK, once with her husband as the virtual complainant and another in which her husband and his niece were complainants.
In one of those complaints, Myers-Primus’ husband decided to drop the matter.
“She is a witness of convenience,” Nelson said, adding that Wyllie had argued that the prosecutor had accepted Myers-Primus’ testimony because Nelson did not put certain things to her.
“What I put to the witness, it was clear as day that I did not accept the evidence of the witness. I could have gone a little further with it but for what? …
“And she gave you a long lecture about how this is an innocent man, even without the benefit of hearing the evidence that you have heard in this trial.”
Nelson told the court that Myers-Primus said that on Nov. 13, she told Bailey to tell the police she had lent Primus the vehicle or they would arrest an innocent man.
“She was saying that even as it was not known how Greaves died,” the prosecutor said.
Nelson told the jury that at the beginning of the trial he had said that the evidence is like “a picture puzzle” but with the evidence all in, the jury had all the pieces before them.
“They put the pieces together and that will tell them what the verdict should be. If you do your job earnestly, the picture that is going to emerge is that Veron Primus murdered Sharlene Greaves.”