Monday, January 22, 2018

After 1-month evaluation: Keyana murder suspect sent to prison

 AFTER spending close to a month at St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital undergoing a mental evaluation, the man accused of murdering six-year-old Keyana Cumberbatch was yesterday remanded in custody at the Golden Grove prison in Arouca.

Senior Magistrate Indrani Cedeno ordered that Dwayne Lewis, 28, the girl’s stepfather, be remanded to prison after viewing the evaluation report, the contents of which was not made public.

Lewis had been undergoing the evaluation since the day he was first brought to court on December 16, last year, charged with murdering the girl.

Keyana had gone missing from her Building Four, Maloney Gardens home on the evening of November 25, and was found three days later stuffed in a shipping barrel and covered with pieces of clothing in her own apartment. An autopsy concluded that she died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.

The day after she went missing, Lewis was taken into police custody but later hospitalised after suffering an asthma attack. He spent more than two weeks in hospital before being taken to court.

During yesterday’s hearing, defence attorney Fareed Ali renewed the call for the prosecution to disclose on exactly what date following his arrest did Lewis became a suspect in the murder.

On a prior occasion, Ali submitted that once a person is in police custody and is a murder suspect, the Legal Aid Board needed to be contacted at the earliest possible opportunity in order to have an attorney appointed to represent the suspect. In this case, Ali said this was not done.  

Following the request, the police prosecutor informed the court that when a State attorney is appointed from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) that piece of information would be released.

Ali questioned how long it would take before a State attorney was appointed but there were no answers forthcoming from the police prosecutor.

The prosecutor said the charging officer could not account for the files that are to be sent to the DPP’s office in order to have one appointed as it was handed over to another police officer to do so. He said the file had not as yet been forwarded to the DPP’s office.

The matter will continue on February 10.