Sunday, February 18, 2018

Phone companies fail to provide evidence in 'Rajaee Ai' murder conspiracy case

...State may have to close case without it

Rajaee Ali

THE prosecution in a conspiracy to murder enquiry involving former LifeSport co-ordinator Rajaee Ali may be forced to close its case without presenting certain pieces of evidence after telecom providers TSTT and Digicel have both failed to release information requested by the State.

Even though court orders were served on both companies since December 4, to have the information handed over, Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) George Busby said up to yesterday, there had been no favourable response.

Busby made the disclosure before Senior Magistrate Ejenny Espinet in the Port of Spain court during the reappearance of Ali, his brother Ishmael Ali, Keshon Dempster, Brandon Borneo, Brent La Croix and Donna Dyer. They are accused of being members of a gang and conspiracy to murder radio disc jockey Kevaughn “Lurbz” Savory in November 2014.

At the hearing, Busby said the State had only one more witness, the officer who laid the charges, to call but was unable to do so yesterday since his statement was incomplete due to the information not being forthcoming. The attorney said the officer's statement is 98 per cent complete, but the information was needed to corroborate other pieces of critical evidence.

He went on to explain that the prosecution was seeking the phone records of eight cellular devices registered with Digicel and one registered with TSTT.

“I made it clear to them how important this case was and that you (Magistrate Espinet) would be going on pre-retirement leave from January 26, but to date there has been no satisfactory response,” said Busby.

Busby said it was his intention of closing the State's case before next Friday and may have to do so without those pieces of information.

“I would have no choice but to do so. I do not want to close without that evidence but I intend to keep my word and close the prosecution's case before Your Worship proceeds on leave,” he said.

Another police officer who formed part of a group that carried out a search of Rajaee Ali's home in November 2014, was yesterday cross-examined by defence attorney Criston J Williams. The matter will resume next week.

The Ali brothers are also among another group of men charged with the murder of senior counsel Dana Seetahal, who was shot dead along Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook, on May 4, 2014. That enquiry is expected to resume before Senior Magistrate Ejenny Espinet today.