BELIZE CITY, Tues. Oct. 29, 2019– The murder trial of Enfield Ervin Fitzgibbon, who has been indicted for the February 2017 murder of Kenmar Nicholas, 19, began in the Supreme Court of Justice Colin Williams this week.
At the trial this afternoon, Crown Counsel Shanice Lovell waged a valiant struggle with one of her witnesses who had become adverse to the proceedings, prompting Lovell to make an application to Justice Williams to “stand down the witness” — which will likely end with her making another application to have the court declare the witness a hostile witness, after which she will probably try to get the witness statement admitted into the evidence against the accused.
On January 23, 2017, Kenmar Nicholas became a victim of the incessant gun violence that has become a way of life in Belize City when he was shot while hanging out at a basketball court through Lindo’s Alley, in front of his house.
The injury left Nicholas paralyzed from the neck down, and when he died on February 3, 2017, his family was in the process of raising money for him to get medical treatment outside Belize.
Police had already charged Enfield Fitzgibbon for attempted murder, and when Nicholas died, that charge was subsequently upgraded to murder.
One of the persons who gave police a statement that assisted them in laying the murder charge was Shawn Gibson, 31. At the time of the shooting, Gibson was living at 1 Ebony Street which he described as lying a short distance from what he called the “fish market,” when he was asked if he knew where the Conch Shell Bay area is located.
Based on the content of Gibson’s statement, he is not a key prosecution witness. Nonetheless, he is an important circumstantial witness who told police in his statement that about 30 to 40 minutes after he had seen and spoken to Fitzgibbon, he “heard several bang, bang, bang, which sounded like gunshots.”
In addition, Gibson told police that Fitzgibbon had visited him on the night of the shooting and they spoke for about two minutes.
It was a very different Shawn Gibson who was in court this afternoon, however. Under questioning from Crown Counsel Lovell, Gibson said he could not remember if he had given police a statement, and said that he didn’t know anyone living in the Conch Shell Bay area.
“I live in Sandhill,” Gibson replied to another question regarding whether he knew a particular house number in Conch Shell Bay.
Crown Counsel Lovell asked him if he recalled hearing any loud sounds on the night of January 23, 2017.
Gibson replied, “I don’t recall.”
“Have you ever seen a firearm, Mr. Gibson?” Lovell asked.
“No, ma’am,” Gibson replied.
“Have you ever seen a firearm in general?” Crown Counsel Lovell pressed on.
“No, ma’am,” Gibson said.
“Do you know someone by the name of Ervin Fitzgibbon?” Crown Counsel Lovell asked.
“No, ma’am,” Gibson responded again.
“Mr. Gibson, on the 24 January 2017, did you give the police any statement in relation to anything that happened on the previous day?” Crown Counsel Lovell pushed her reluctant witness.
“I can’t recall, ma’am,” was Gibson’s response.
When he was asked why he couldn’t recall, Gibson told the court that he is presently in jail and is stressed over the fact that he cannot support his daughter.
(In May 2019, Gibson, 31, was charged with the murder of Lyndon Baldwin, 22.)
Gibson told the court that he would not be able to recognize his name or signature on any document that he signed.
Initially, when he was asked why he came to court, Gibson replied, “For some case.”
Gibson remained behind his barricade of evasiveness with his expressions of “no, ma’am,” and “I don’t remember,” or “I can’t remember,” which he delivered with finality as he stood with his hand behind his back and avoided looking in the direction of the prisoner in the dock.
After more than half an hour of not getting proper answers to her questions, Crown Counsel Lovell told Justice Williams that the Crown was renewing its application for the witness to be stood down.
The case was adjourned to tomorrow, Wednesday, at 9:00 a.m.