Saturday, February 24, 2018

Hole in ground was for outhouse, says defence

Vindra Naipaul-Coolman was kidnapped from the driveway of her Radix Road, Lange Park, home on the night of December 19, 2006, and was never seen again by her relatives. At the time of her 

abduction she was chief executive officer of Xtra Foods Supermarket at Grand Bazaar in Valsayn. 

The trial will resume this morning. 

A HOLE shown in one of three video recordings tendered into evidence in the Vindra Naipaul-Coolman murder trial is that of an unfinished outhouse, says one of the defence attorneys involved in the matter.

Attorney Colin Selvon, in questioning police audio-visual technician Cpl Nigel Stephens yesterday, asked the officer if he was aware of this, to which Stephens said he was unable say.

The State, however, is contending that after Naipaul-Coolman was murdered in a small red brick house at Upper La Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin, in 2006, her body was cut into pieces and temporarily buried in the hole in a forested area.

Upon yesterday’s recommencement of the trial before Justice Malcolm Holdip at the Second Criminal Court of the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, Stephens was questioned at length by Selvon and other attorneys who represent the 12 men accused of murdering the Chaguanas businesswoman.

Selvon told the witness that the hole, which measured four feet deep and four feet wide as was estimated by the officer, was that of an outside toilet but Stephens stated he was unable to say if this was in fact true. 

The officer was also questioned by Selvon on an item found in the oven area of a stove at the red brick house, which the officer said appeared to be duct tape.

Upon further questioning, Stephens said the item also bore a resemblance to flashband, a self-adhesive, aluminium faced sealing strip but could not say for certain what it was as he did not have the opportunity to physically examine the item.

The three videos that were tendered into evidence were recorded on January 6, May 9 and 12, 2007, at Upper La Puerta Avenue.

Defence attorney Mario Merritt cross-examined the officer on why the videos were recoded without any audio to which Stephens said this was the order given to him by senior officers at the scene.

He also testified that upon arriving at La Puerta Avenue, other officers were already in the process of searching the red brick house and a two-storey dwelling house.

However, Merritt pointed out to the officer that during his evidence in chief at the preliminary enquiry in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court, he testified that he was already at the scene before the search began.

Attorney Ian Brooks asked the officer if he was present when a black handgun was allegedly found in the two-storey house.

“No I was not,” Stephens responded.

“So you cannot say if the gun was found at the same spot where you saw it,” Brooks asked.

“No I cannot say,” said the officer.

“You cannot even say if the gun was even found in the house?” asked Brooks. 

“No I cannot,” Stephens said.