Tuesday, 26 November 2013
Off-Topic: Brian Farmer Murder Trial, Day 8
After the long weekend the trial continued today with the questioning of Jason Andrews by the lawyers representing the other three defendants, Lisa Clarke, Peter Knowles and Vaughan Davies. As I've already pointed out, the unusual structure of this case with the four defendants accusing one another leads to the defence lawyers interrogating in a manner which would usually be done by the prosecution.
Lisa Clarke's lawyer, Miss Montgomery, began by asking Jason Andrews about a previous conviction for injuring his then girlfriend by hitting her with a dog chain wrapped around his fist. He claimed that the injury had been caused when his girlfriend fell over, but she asked him to pretend he had hit her so that she could be considered a victim of domestic violence and be given a new place to live. She also asked him about the occasions when he had threatened Lisa with a knife, attacked his sister and hit Brian over the head with a sugar bowl. He claimed that all these allegations were a pack of lies, and that he has never been violent to anyone.
Miss Montgomery suggested that Jason Andrews' whole testimony which he gave on Thursday was untrue. She presented the course of events as she sees them. She claimed that the attack on Brian Farmer was carried out jointly by Jason Andrews and Vaughan Davies, maybe because of sexual remarks made by Brian. Lisa Clarke took no part in the attack and tried unsuccessfully to stop it. Lisa wanted to leave, but Jason threatened her with a knife and forced her to stay.
Next Peter Knowles' lawyer, Mr. Lynch, questioned Jason. He made a great deal of discrepancies between his written statement for the court, made in October, and the testimony he had given on Thursday. In his written statement Jason had made it clear that Vaughan and Lisa were jointly attacking Brian. On Thursday he claimed that Lisa took no part in the assault, apart from forcing Brian to drink a pint of her piss. Jason claimed that this was a mistake in his statement. Mr. Lynch pointed out how small Vaughan is in comparison to Jason, and suggested that it would have been easy to pull him away from Brian, especially with assistance from John Campion. In the cross-examination Jason repeatedly called Brian his good friend, which made Mr. Lynch ask why he hadn't done more to protect him. Mr. Lynch was confused why Jason would throw his own stereo system off the balcony in order to prevent Vaughan continuing with the attack, and suggested that the stereo system was already broken because Jason had hit Brian over the head with the loudspeaker. Mr. Lynch suggested that the attack had been carried out by Jason, Vaughan and Lisa, and that Peter Knowles had taken no part in the assault.
Vaughan Davies' lawyer, Mr. Denilo, made a great deal out of Jason's silence in the original police interviews. Instead of answering the questions put to him he replied "no comment" to all of them. He could easily have answered at the time that he was innocent and Vaughan Davies had carried out the attack. Mr. Denilo suggested that the reason for his silence when questioned was that he needed more time to invent a story. He didn't make the statement for the court until 17 months later. He said that Jason didn't make a statement until he had read what the prosecution's charges against him were. Mr. Denilo suggested that Jason blamed Vaughan for the assault as revenge for Vaughan grassing on him. He also suggested that Jason and Lisa had attacked Brian while Vaughan tried to stop them. At this point Jason changed his testimony. He said that Lisa had repeatedly punched Brian in the face with her fists, assisting Vaughan in his attack on Brian.
Jason repeatedly claimed that he left Brian's flat half an hour after the attack on Brian began and returned the next day, when Vaughan was no longer there. Mr, Denilo contradicted this by referring to CCTV footage. Lisa Clarke, John Campion and Vaughan Davies were seen arriving by taxi at 6pm on May 4th 2012. Later in the evening Jason, Lisa and Vaughan were seen together. Jason claimed that the first time he ever saw Vaughan was when he walked into the room and Vaughan was hitting Brian with a metal pipe. On the next day at 6:30pm , May 5th, Brian and Vaughan were seen shopping together, and Brian had no noticeable injuries. At 8:45pm on May 5th Jason, Lisa and Vaughan were seen leaving the building together.
A recording of a call to Careline on May 8th at 3:23am, which had been initiated by pressing an alarm button, was played to the court. The operator replied and asked if there was a problem. A male voice replied, "Sorry, I burnt some toast, nothing is wrong". The operator said "Bye bye", but the call continued, and the people in the flat didn't realise they were being recorded. Another male voice, different to the first, said, "He pressed the fucking buzzer". A female voice replied, "Yes, I know". The second male voice then said, "You'll get us all fucking locked up".
The female voice was identified as Lisa Clarke. The male voices could not be easily identified because of the background noise. Mr. Denilo suggested that one of the voices was Jason Andrews, but made no attempt to identify the other. It couldn't have been Vaughan Davies, because it's been proved he was staying somewhere else on the night of May 7th. Based on the evidence of text messages -- Jason and Lisa texted one another many times a day except when they were together -- Mr. Denilo says that Jason must have been with Lisa at the time, so one of the voices must have been his.
I personally am interested to know who the other male voice is. Jason has a speech impediment, and the first person who spoke, the one who can be heard clearly, spoke too fluidly. Jason must be the second man who spoke. Who is the first? It should be easy to compare voices. My personal theory is that John Campion was the other person present on May 8th, helping his friends clean up after Brian's death.
Finally the prosecutor, Mr. Evans, began his cross-examination. He repeated the accusation of all three defence lawyers that Jason's testimony was full of lies. The case will continue tomorrow.