During Taaj Muhammad’s trial continuation defence lawyer Charles Richardson cross-examined a trial witness who cannot be named for legal reasons.
The witness told the jury on Friday that Mr. Muhammad had outright told her that he had shot and killed 30-year-old Ronniko Burchall, also known as “ warrior”, in December of 2018. She did not choose to go to the police about what Mr. Muhammad had allegedly told her until July of 2020, because she was petrified about doing so beforehand.
During her cross-examination, she admitted to Mr. Richardson that she had a conversation with some officers at the Hamilton Police Station which was not filmed or recorded and that the video-recorded interview that jurors were shown earlier in the trial happened after that initial conversation.
Mr. Richardson highlighted that, despite the witness telling the jury that the defendant admitted to her that he killed Mr. Burchall, she never told police that information in the 2020 video recorded interview.
According to the witness, Mr. Muhammad told her that on the date of the murder (December 29, 2018), he had swam from Cashew City in St. Davids all the way to St. George’s harbor and had dropped the weapon in question in the water while swimming. She told Mr. Richardson that, based on watching Mr. Muhammad swim and jump off of the rocks at Tobacco Bay, she knew that he was a strong swimmer, so swimming that long distance would not have been that implausible for him to do.
Despite this, Mr. Richardson told the witness that she could not know for sure, just based on watching him swim at Tobacco Bay during the daytime, that Mr. Muhammad was a strong swimmer. Even if he was, he told the witness, he would “have to have been Flora Duffy” to swim from St. David’s to St. George’s in December, very late at night, fully clothed and with a weapon in his possession.
The trial will continue tomorrow at 9:30 am.
TNN Reporter Stefano Ausenda
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