Thursday, February 22, 2018

10 bid for freedom in murder of Thackhoor Boodram

Killed in 1997: Thackhoor Boodram

THE ten men who were sentenced to death 16 years ago but later had their sentence commuted to life in prison for the murder of Thackhoor Boodram, the brother of drug baron Dole Chadee, now have another chance at freedom. 

For a second time, those accused of the 1997 murder are before the Court of Appeal in Port of Spain as they seek to have the conviction and sentence against them quashed after the State's main witness, Junior Grandison, allegedly admitted in a sworn statement in 2011 that he had fabricated evidence against them during the trial. 

In addition to the statement, the team of defence attorneys led by British Queens Counsel Edward Fitzgerald, has audio recordings of telephone conversations Grandison had with Michael “Rat” Maharaj, one of men who was convicted of the murder.

 In those conversations, Grandison confessed that he had lied under oath. 

 Also in their possession is an affidavit from attorney and United National Congress (UNC) senator Gerald Ramdeen, from whom Grandison sought advice in 2011 after confessing to him that his evidence at the trail was false. It was after Grandison admitted to Ramdeen that he had fabricated the evidence that the sworn statement was prepared. 

The Appeal was called before Justices of Appeal Alice Yorke-Soo Hon, Rajendra Narine and Prakash Moosai, with the defence making an application to have the statement, Ramdeen's affidavit and the audio recordings tendered into evidence. 

A summons will be issued for Grandison to attend court next Tuesday when the matter resumes.

Boodram, a driver with the Telecommunications Service of T&T (TSTT) and a pig farmer, was kidnapped on December 20, 1997. Ten days later, his severed head was found in a whiskey box at the Caroni cremation site.

 NOTE: The Full story on what transpired in court will be published in Wednesday's edition of the Trinidad Express.