Try me for that Murder! – Hewitt’s widower begs for speedy trial
BY DONNA HUSSEY-WHYTE Sunday Observer reporter email@example.com
Sunday, June 02, 2013
THE widower of a popular entertainment personality, who is accused of killing her, wants the State to proceed with the murder trial so that he can get on with his life.
David Gordon, now 32, is unhappy that he has been forced to wait seven years for the murder trial of dancehall promoter, television personality and public relations practitioner, Christine Hewitt, to get off the ground.
Gordon and his brother Wordsworth Gordon were arrested and charged with Hewitt’s murder, three years after her body was found on the Mount Industry main road in rural St Catherine on June 29, 2006. The body was discovered in a burnt-out sport utility vehicle and identified by the wedding band that Gordon had placed on her finger a year and four months earlier. Gordon was 24 when he married the 42-year-old talk show host.
“After seven years of investigation I would have hoped that by now they would have at least started the trial,” Gordon told the Jamaica Observer in an exclusive interview last week.
“I thought it was about being innocent until proven guilty,” Gordon said. “But it seems to be the other way around, because it has been over four years since I have been charged, and seven years since they have been investigating, and all now the trial cannot start,” Gordon stated.
Gordon said that the matter is currently in the Home Circuit Court, having bypassed the usual preliminary hearing. This was done, he said, because prosecutors claimed that they would have had to fly witnesses from overseas to testify at the preliminary hearing and again at the trial, and the State did not have enough money to do that.
“So what that means is that they jumped it from preliminary hearing straight into Circuit,” Gordon said. “And it has been in Circuit for over four years. They have set many, many trial dates and every trial date is a different story; they aren’t ready to start because of some outstanding document or something else,” said Gordon, who opted against being photographed for the Sunday Observer interview.
Gordon said that, when he went to court last September, the presiding judge made it clear that the matter was before the court for too long and that the investigating officers needed to complete their investigations and get things together so that the trial could begin.
A date was then set for November 14, last year, by which time the officers were to be in court with everything necessary for the trial. But despite being in court, and prosecutors saying that everything was in place, the trial did not begin.
“The outstanding documents were photographs of the crime scene and the crime scene report,” Gordon stated. “So they said they were ready to start. But instead, a date was set for February 14, and when I went that day the argument was that they were contemplating whether or not it should go on. This was after they set a date and said they had everything for the trial from last November,” the accused said.
He said that another date was set for a week later, but when he attended court it was only to have yet another date set for trial on June 3, three months later.
“But I am saying, if after seven years they are investigating and finally decide to go to trial, why do they need a three-month date? Why not set a date like the following week or two weeks after?” he questioned. “Because they said they had everything from last year November. So why not just try the case?”
Gordon said that the situation had reached a point where it is affecting his life in many ways.
“They started investigating the case when I was 25 and now I am 32. My daughter was young and didn’t understand what her father was going through, and now she’s big and can understand things,” he said. “My daughter is doing very well in school, she got five As, two Bs and two B+s in her mock exam. She just did GSAT and I am almost sure she is going to pass for the school of her choice. But, because of this, I might not be in a position to give her the financial support that she needs. So it is not only affecting me, but also her,” he said.
Not only is he unable to care for his child as he would like, but Gordon said that he is not able to make use of the opportunities that present themselves because of the situation.
“A lot of opportunities have passed me by. I have come upon very good jobs, very, very good jobs. But who wants to employ somebody who could be a potential murderer? You can’t tell people you have a case in court. You can’t be leaving from work saying you are going to court on a murder charge,” he said. “And after seven years I am still reporting to the police station once per week,” he added.
Gordon said that a major chunk of his earnings go towards legal fees.
“Most of what I am working now has to go into legal fees, because I cannot afford to go to court without being represented. And the longer the case takes, the more I have to be paying. It’s as if they are waiting until I don’t have enough money to defend myself to send me to prison,” he said.
The accused said that, so far, the case had cost him close to $2 million, which included getting his family’s land surveyed so that he could post bail.
“I had to even liquidate some of my assets to keep up with legal fees. Almost everything I had, I had to sell just to keep up with my legal fees, and soon and very soon I won’t have anything more to sell,” he said.
After being charged, Gordon spent six weeks behind bars. He is out on a $2 million bail bond.
“I have never missed reporting to the station, never been late or missed court or anything like that,” Gordon said.
He described the matter as “very stressful”, adding that he is more affected the longer it drags on.
“It’s stressing me out even more now because I think the seven years that I have this hanging over my life are the most important years of any young person’s life, if you have ambition and want to build a good foundation,” he said. “I have sat and watched a number of my friends achieve a lot, and I know if it was not for this case, I would have achieved the same or even more. So it’s as if my life is in limbo now.
“It is stressing me out even more now that it has started to affect my daughter. If it wasn’t for the case I would have been doing bigger and better things. I would have achieved more out of life. I would have had a better foundation. I cannot plan ahead of time because I have to be wondering what is going to happen. I can’t do anything because if I go somewhere I have to come back to report to the police station. It’s like I am walking and people think I am free, but I feel like I am already behind bars or like I am walking in cuffs on the road or some chains. I can’t progress; I cannot achieve anything. I am not free, I only look like I am free,” Gordon said.
“The worse thing is I will never, ever, as long as I live get back the seven years. Never! I am in my bed and I can’t sleep because I am wondering when this will be over. They need to just really try my case,” Gordon said. “I don’t think I am asking too much for them to try my case.
“I am not asking them to throw out the case. I am asking them to try it. To everybody else in the courthouse it is just another case. For my lawyer it’s just another case, for the judge its just another case. But for me it is not. When the case started, the arresting officer was just a regular detective. Since then he has been promoted to a detective inspector, and my life is still in limbo. I am now wondering how many more cases he has similar to mine that he is just sitting down on and people’s lives are just going to waste while he is being promoted?” Gordon stated.
Gordon suggested that if the investigating officer was working as he ought to be, he would not be in the position that he presently finds himself.
“What investigator charges somebody and then has the case seven years in court and the trial cannot start? That does not make any sense,” he said. “If you are investigating the case for seven years you must at least have enough to start the trial, even if you cannot finish it.
“The truth is, I didn’t know cases could stay in court for so long. There must be some regulation as to how long matters are in the Circuit Court before a trial can start. And I mean it is in front of the judge for a trial to start and every day he comes to court and the trial still cannot start because something is not in place. Why didn’t he wait until he had everything in place before he arrested and charged me and locked me up for six weeks? It’s as if he arrested and charged me and then he started to investigate. It’s simply because I was married to Christine. Probably they are looking at it that this youth from nowhere married this prominent woman and they feel it must be another reason apart from love,” Gordon remarked.
Gordon said that his brother was suffering a similar fate.
“We go to court the same times, we have to report on the same days, so it is affecting him too.”
So anxious is Gordon for his case to be tried that he now looks forward to court.
“These days I look forward to going to court the way how I well want the trial to be over. In the first stages when it reached close to court date I was terrified,” he said. “But these days… I know what they going to say in court. They just going to give me a three-month date and send me back home, because that is what always happens. So I am really wondering come the 3rd of June (tomorrow) they are going to put off the case again for another three or four months. What will it take for the trial to start? I only hope that the judge will let good sense prevail and let them know that they need to start the case. They need to try the case!
“If this is justice I wouldn’t want to see what injustice is. This is surely not benefiting Christine, it’s not benefiting them, and it’s surely not benefiting me. If I was from a more prominent family, I am certain I would not have been in court for seven years and trial cannot start. It’s just because my family is not known in society or have any letters before or after their names why they treating the case the way they are treating it. But they couldn’t do it to certain people. Is like a certain kind of justice for the rich and a different one for the poor. If you come from a certain family and carry a different last name, it’s like you go through a different justice system. But if no one knows you, you are lost in the system,” Gordon said.