Friday, January 19, 2018

DPP sends warning to media

DIRECTOR of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard yesterday warned the media against breaching the law by publishing evidence in the preliminary enquiry against six police officers charged with murder.

Princes Town Senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne said that should this practice continue, such persons could be barred from covering the hearing.

She also said under Section 41 of the Preliminary Enquiry Act, such a breach could result in a $2,000 fine or a jail term of four months.

It was at the start of the proceedings yesterday that Gaspard said he had to raise a "small but significant matter".

He said following the hearing last week, he saw evidence from a prosecution witnesses published in Newsday newspaper.

Gaspard said the practice was unacceptable.

"The Preliminary Enquiry Act clearly indicates the remit, ambit and scope of reporting in these proceedings," Gaspard said.

He asked Quintyne to intervene.

She said that he could take action if the law was being breached and read Section 41 of the Act. She said the law also pertained to the information posted by bloggers and Facebook users, which she said were also considered recorded forms of publication.

"I call upon you to cease and desist. The law is very, very clear and very simple," she said.

Evidence was yesterday taken from several senior police officers, including Assistant Superintendent Carl Ramlal.

As he took the witness stand, 13 evidence boxes were brought into the courtroom. These contained guns and ammunition which were tendered into evidence without objection by defence attorney Israel Khan.

Khan is representing Acting Sergeant Khemraj Sahadeo, Constables Renaldo Reviero, Glenn Singh, Roger Nicholas, Safraz Juman and Antonio Ramadin who are charged with the killing of Moruga residents Abigail Johnson, Allana Duncan and Kerron "Fingers" Eccles.

The three were killed at Rochard Douglas Road, Barrackpore on the night of July 22, 2011.

Assistant Superintendent Kokaram Dookie, Senior Superintendent John Martinez, Sergeant Mulchan Deonarine and Constable Arnold Ramroop also testified yesterday.

The matter will next be called on December 5. It is expected that senior counsel Gilbert Peterson will take charge of the case as DPP Gaspard told Quintyne he has another engagement.

Attorney Elaine Greene is also appearing for the State.

Attorneys Ulric Skerritt and Celeste St Louis make up the rest of the defence team.