Investigation suggests violent gang responsible for killing, not uncle
In 2013, David Pinto found himself in utter disbelief when a jury convicted him of murdering his nephew, Genson Courtney. “It’s mad,” David says. “For people to think I would shoot by nephew is absolute rubbish. I love him.”
Genson had been shot dead in North Greenwich one evening in July 2011, aged just 23. One witness who claimed to have seen a man running fast away from the scene described him as having a white hand. Nevertheless the police charged David, who is black, with the crime.
The evidence used to convict David and his co-defendant was, in the words of the judges from David’s first appeal, “entirely circumstantial”.
As the prosecution admitted at the start of trial, they did “not have any direct evidence of the involvement of the defendants; there are no-eye witnesses who have identified either man as being involved in the shooting; there is no CCTV evidence of the incident that reveals the involvement of the defendants and neither has made any admissions as to their involvement.”
When questioned by police, David gave a false alibi - claiming he was at a friend's house - because he didn't want to admit that he was actually out couriering drugs.
In the absence of any direct evidence in the killing, the prosecution built their case against David using telephone and cell site data from the time of the shooting. This placed David in an area that covered the murder scene, but was also wide enough to contain the house he shared with his wife in addition to the houses of his mum, sister and best friend, plus the area in which he says he was drug dealing.
The police were adamant that David had killed his nephew because of an argument over some money – an idea that David and Genson’s tight knit family find preposterous because they had an almost father-son relationship. Investigation by the Centre for Criminal Appeals suggests it is much more likely Genson was killed in retaliation to a feud with a South London gang.
David remains at a high security prison where he is serving his life sentence. A devoted father of four, he sends the money he earns as a kitchen worker home to support them. His imprisonment has been hard on his family as well as him: “I’m a dad. I’m always with my children. It is hard. They’re suffering as well. It isn’t just me in here.”
Genson’s mother insists she cannot mourn her son’s death until her brother David’s wrongful conviction is overturned.
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