Taxi driver testifies area was ‘foggy’ at time of shooting 

The driver of the taxi in which Khajeel Mais was shot in July 2011 yesterday testified that “within a minute” of his car hitting the rear of a “big back vehicle” the taxi was fired upon.

Wayne Wright, the main witness who brought much drama to yesterday’s proceedings and directed hostility at lead prosecutor Jeremy Taylor, told the Home Circuit Court that he picked up a man, whom he later identified as Khajeel Mais, at a gas station on Manning’s Hill Road in St Andrew, and was taking him to his destination on Chevy Chase when he hit the back of a vehicle, which, he claimed, came out of nowhere.

“I hit a vehicle; I don’t know if it was parked or driving. It was a black vehicle with a light at the top,” Wright said. “When I hit it I saw the vehicle and I was like, Oh s…! and I try reverse.”

Wright said he reversed and stopped under a street light about 20 feet from the vehicle and was about to park when the car was fired upon.

“I was about to put it in the P,” he said, triggering laughter from the court.

“The what?” Taylor asked.

“Park,” Wright answered.

The witness testified that on hearing the gunshot he ducked beneath his steering wheel and drove straight to Avon Place on his way to the Constant Spring Police Station.

However, he said the vehicle that he had hit was parked in front of him, and while driving past another shot was fired at his car.

“I think I hear one more fired, I think that was when it ketch the back door glass,” Wright explained.

He then told the court that he drove straight to the police station with “the guy who got shot”.

But Wright testified that he did not see any other vehicle or anyone on the road when the shots were fired and was also not aware from which direction the shots were fired.

When questioned further about the car that his vehicle had hit he said, “I am sure it was black, I tell them it must be a SUV or a X5 or a big back vehicle or something.”

However, he insisted that on hearing the second gunshot he drove straight to the police station with his head under his steering wheel and only looked up after “His Majesty say ‘look up now’ as I was going into a wall”.

According to the main witness, at the time of the incident, it was raining, the place was “foggy” and “looked like a light smoke coming through the whole area”.

However, he said the collision occurred shortly after Mais had told him to drive faster.

“I was going on Highland Drive, easy, going with the guy, and he said, ‘Yow, drive up fast, nuh Rastaman’,” Wright said, adding that he responded by driving faster.

“As I was doing that, the rain was falling; I don’t know where the vehicle came from, I jus end up behind it,” Wright said.

He later clarified his statement and told the prosecutor that he did not end up behind the vehicle but had hit the back of the vehicle.

When Taylor told him that he had in fact said he ended up behind the vehicle Wright asked, “Where yu get dat from?”

“I did tell yu dat? Yu a try manipulate…,” he said before Justice Lloyd Hibbert intervened and told him to answer the question and not to get carried way.

The judge was kept very busy mediating between Taylor and Wright as Wright claimed he did not understand several of the questions put to him.

Wright, who rolled his eyes, folded his arms and shook his feet throughout most of the proceedings, at one point told Taylor: “You are not asking the questions properly, Sir (the judge) is doing it better.”

Wright, during his drama-filled testimony, also said that on the day when he picked up Mais he was seeing the 17-year-old for the first time and that he did not see him take anything into the car.

Earlier in the trial, Police Superintendent Clive Walker testified that Patrick Powell, the businessman who is charged with shooting Mais, had refused to hand over his licensed firearm for testing when was taken into custody.

Walker said that to date Powell has not handed over his firearm, a Glock 9mm, for testing.

Superintendent Walker said he first asked Powell while he was in custody on July 11 and had served him a notice but he refused. He said he again asked Powell on July 20, and even offered to assist him as he was still in custody, but he refused.

However, under cross-examination from Attorney Deborah Martin he admitted that Powell told him on the second occasion that he had to first consult with his lawyer and he had interpreted that as a refusal.

Powell is being tried for murder and shooting with intent.

It is alleged that Mais was travelling in a taxi which collided with a BMW X6 motor vehicle that was being driven by Powell. It is alleged that the driver of the BMW got out and fired at the taxi, hitting the boy.

Wright will continue his testimony today.

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