Attorney continues to discredit witness in ‘Beachy Stout’ trial

AN attorney representing one of the accused in the “Beachy Stout” murder trial on Tuesday continued to discredit the second witness, Devalyn Minott, and painted him as a career criminal.

Minott, who is already convicted of murder in the matter and is serving a 19-year sentence, has been giving testimony for the Crown against Everton “Beachy Stout” McDonald and Oscar Barnes, who are on trial for the July 20, 2020 murder of McDonald’s second wife, Tonia.

Barnes is being represented by attorneys Vincent Wellesley and Earnest Davis. However, Wellesley is leading the cross-examination of the witness on behalf of their client.

Wellesley started off his cross-examination of Minott by taking him back to one of the instances in which the witness claimed that he went to Tonia McDonald’s house in Dolphin Bay, Portland, in 2020 to kill her.

Minott had said that on one particular occasion he went to the house armed with a gun. He had claimed that Beachy Stout contracted him to kill Tonia and gave him strict orders that she was not to be shot but was to be stabbed to death.

Minott, during his examination in chief, had told the court that he sub-contracted the murder to Barnes because he had never stabbed anyone to death before and had to give the job to someone who could.

He had also said that despite receiving those instructions, he still went to the house armed with a gun.

Asked by Wellesley where he got the gun and for how long he had it, Minott told the court that he got the firearm from Haiti and had it for longer than four years.

Wellesley also got him to admit that he had received guns from Haiti on numerous occasions. In court, Minott has always maintained that he met Barnes on the Manchioneal Fishing Beach in Portland when he went to purchase fish, and because he knew that Tonia wanted a gun to buy he had approached Barnes about the subject after allegedly overhearing him tell about six men on the beach that he had access to guns.

Wellesley raised doubt that Minott and Barnes had any conversation about buying a firearm since Minott already had connections in the underworld for many years prior to the day he claimed he met Barnes.

Wellesley also quizzed Minott on whether he was asked by Tonia to murder the man who had killed her father.

“I was aware Mrs Mac was planning to kill someone. She wanted to do it so badly, she wanted to give me the contract,” Minott said.

Wellesley asked Minott how long he had spent in custody before hearing the name Oscar Barnes for the first time.

“It was sometime in 2022. I have never attended this court along with Barnes. The first time I went to court was in 2020. Whilst I was in court, I never heard the name Barnes being mentioned. When I got the plea deal I was not aware of the name Barnes. I was aware that someone else was charged for the killing of Mrs McDonald. When I first heard the name Barnes was on the radio news while I was in prison. While in prison, I gave a statement to the police. When I gave the statement, I hadn’t yet heard the name Barnes,” Minott said, pointing out that he did not know the name of the man when he met him and up to the time of his imprisonment.

“I had been to Manchioneal regular[ly] before I met Mr Barnes. I knew people who worked at the fishing beach because I did business there on many occasions. If that is where I stayed to buy my guns in Haiti, is none of your business,” the witness said, then started laughing.

His laughter prompted Wellesley to inquire whether he was crazy.

“Why are you laughing, laughing? The minister of national security needs to know about you,” Wellesley said.

When Wellesley continued to press him on how he said he met Barnes, Minott said that on the first occasion they met he spoke to Barnes in person. “I didn’t talk to anybody to get to know him. I don’t remember how long I spoke to Mr Barnes for.”

Asked whether people at the fishing beach were wearing face masks, given that the murder was committed in July 2020 when restrictions to guard against the spread of COVID-19 were in place, Minott said, “I never watched the people on the fishing village to see if they had on mask or not.”

Wellesley tackled the witness on the fact that he never properly described Barnes when giving his statements to the police. However, Minott said that he had given the description to the police but somehow that did not appear in the statement that he signed.

“I told the police that Mr Barnes had a small head and a small nose,” Minott said.

However, Wellesley responded, “You gave them no description of Mr Barnes.”