LEGAL WRANGLING: Exploring the X6 trial
The case dubbed the X6 murder trial has generated great public interest, especially since the taxi driver, who was the alleged sole eyewitness for the prosecution, failed to identify the accused businessman Patrick Powell as the person who fired the fatal shot.
The prosecution had to offer no further evidence because it was relying solely on identification evidence to prove its case against Powell, who was charged with the murder of 17-year-old schoolboy Khajeel Mais.
There have been mixed views to the outcome of the case as there are those who feel that the case should have gone to the jury for its consideration. There are those who say if you don't have the evidence to support the case, the jury cannot be allowed to speculate.
A woman, who said she followed the case from the trial started, said "when the trial started it sounded like a strong case, but when I hear the taxi driver's evidence that he could not identify the shooter, I knew the case must collapse".
Commenting further, she said, "I cannot understand what all the excitement is about. Cases get thrown out of court all the time."
"I am sorry that the person who shot and killed the boy will not be punished, but if the evidence does not point to Powell as the shooter, he must be freed."
The woman's sister remarked that "it was a jury trial, so the case should have continued to the end and the jury decide guilty or not guilty."
CANNOT IDENTIFY POWELL
In response, her sister said, "You know you don't have much sense. Why should time be wasted when the taxi man cannot identify Powell to the jury as the person who shot the boy? If the case continued, it would be like a drowning man clutching at straw." "So what happened to the gun from which the bullet struck the boy?" the other sister asked.
"Well, according to the reports, the police investigators had no gun for the ballistic experts to examine and make a determination," the sister said.
"So you see I am right when I say without additional eyewitnesses or even the firearm which fired the fatal shot," the case could not continue.
"Interestingly though, I don't quite understand why the prosecution treated the taximan as a hostile witness," the other sister queried.
In answering the question, her sister said, "You don't know what hostile means? Well it means that the taxi driver was hostile in court, just like how you are hostile to me many times."
A legal expert in defining a hostile witness said there are several reasons for persons becoming hostile witnesses. He explained that a hostile witness otherwise known as an adverse witness is a person whose testimony on direct examination is either openly antagonistic or appears to be contrary to the legal position of the party who called the witness.
Once a person is declared a hostile witness, the statement the witness gave can be put directly to the witness as is done during cross-examination. There are instances when a witness who gives a false statement can be charged with attempting to pervert the course of justice.