body found in river: Daniel Guerra
Cop walks free, killer still at large
Nikita Braxton-Benjamin email@example.com
Daniel Guerra’s killer remains unknown.
Yesterday, Detective Constable Darwin Ghouralal, who was charged with the eight-year-old child’s murder, walked out of the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court a free man.
Ghouralal gave the media a peace sign as he left for home.
Defence attorney Senior Counsel Sophia Chote said justice had been served.
Moments earlier, Senior Magistrate Rajendra Rambachan upheld the no-case submission made last month by Chote.
“No prima facie case had been made out against this accused. He is discharged,” Rambachan said.
An emotional Ghouralal hugged his attorney.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Joan Honore-Paul immediately applied for a judge’s warrant.
This happens when the State intends to review the evidence in a case to possibly make another arrest.
Chote told reporters it had been a long preliminary enquiry, and the State brought years of evidence which could not stand up to scrutiny.
She said the evidence in the enquiry “clearly pointed in another direction”.
“I hope that in the interest of justice that proper enquiries are made in relation to that person,” said Chote.
Ghouralal, who had 15 years’ service as a police officer and last worked with the Robbery Squad of the Southern Division, first appeared in court on April 12, 2011, facing the allegation that he killed the boy.
Sergeant Anderson Parriman charged him with murdering Daniel on a date unknown between February 17 and February 21 that year.
Guerra’s decomposing body was found in a river along the Tarouba Link Road, two days after he went missing.
The boy, a Standard Two pupil of Gasparillo Government Primary School, was last seen standing near the track leading to his family’s Bedeau Street, Gasparillo, home. He was returning from buying soft drinks at a nearby parlour.
When an autopsy ruled the boy had drowned, it was the State, through Attorney General Anand Ramlogan and then foreign affairs minister Suruj Rambachan, that paid for autopsies to be done by Prof Hubert Daisley and American patho-logist Dr James Gill.
Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and other politicians attended the child’s funeral. The previous day, Persad-Bissessar delivered what she called the Daniel Decree.
She said: “Daniel, in your name, I proclaim not as Prime Minister but as a mother and grandmother, the Daniel Decree, a simple but powerful intention shared by the large majority of our nation’s good, loving, law-abiding and decent citizens to actively join in a national movement to effect a permanent social change in Trinidad and Tobago. The Daniel Decree is a dedication to defend our nation’s children in your memory and others like you who have been so cruelly taken from us.”
The case against Ghouralal began on November 5, 2011, and proceeded by way of paper committal, which involves the State filing witness statements and the defence calling those needed for cross-exami-
Martin Whittaker, a forensic scientist from England, pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov, several police officers and family members of the victim took the witness stand.
Daniel’s mother, Rona Indarsingh, his grandparents and uncle were all cross-examined by Chote.
Daniel’s grandparents followed the case regularly from the public gallery, but they were not in court yesterday.
Ghouralal did not speak to reporters following the case, but he was seen in the holding bay of the court greeting and speaking with police officers, some of whom walked from the police station after they heard of the magistrate’s decision.
Ghouralal, who was on half-pay during his imprisonment, is entitled to back pay and reinstatement in the Police Service.