Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Bad smell from cocaine exhibit closes court early

HEARING OF evidence in a drug trial ended prematurely after defence lawyers and one of their clients complained of feeling unwell when a 14-year-old cocaine exhibit was being tendered into evidence.

Defence attorneys and 34-year-old accused Neisha Outram complained of being affected by the pungent scent coming from the bag containing the 11 kilogrammes of the illicit drug.

Outram also had to be assisted out of the courtroom by her attorney, John Heath, and returned moments later with a surgical mask over her face.

Heath and attorney Ravi Rajcoomar, who is representing 44-year-old farmer Dexter Brown, with whom Outram once shared a relationship, asked Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas to end the day's proceedings earlier than usual shortly after the exhibit was tendered into evidence.

St Clair-Douglas proceeded instead to take the lunch break but upon returning to court, the attorneys renewed their request.

The 12-member jury with four alternates were told by St Clair-Douglas he was acceding to the request to take an early adjournment because of the negative impact on the ability of the attorneys on both sides to conduct the trial.

The jurors were told to return to court at 9.30 a.m. today.

The trial is being heard in the Fifth Criminal Assizes at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.

Brown and Outram are charged with having in their possession 278 kilogrammes of marijuana, wrapped in 92 packages, and 11 kilogrammes of cocaine in their possession.

Retired sergeant of police Neville White testified on Tuesday he and a team of police officers obtained a warrant and went to Brown's home at Brazil Road, Wallerfield, on October 6, 1999.

White said, through a window, he observed Brown and Outram in a room with a scale and several packages around them. He told the court he saw Outram placing one of the parcels on the scale following which the police announced their presence and ordered Brown to open the door.

The packages were seized and US$500, EC$20 and TT$44 was allegedly found on Brown.

The two were arrested and taken to the Arima Police Station where they were charged.

Leading evidence on behalf of the State are attorneys Jennifer Martin and Sunita Ramjattan while Brown is being represented by attorneys Ravi Rajcoomar and Dr Winston Estevour.

Outram is also being represented by Imran Juman.

—Keino Swamber