Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Jurors told to return on Tuesday

AFTER just one hearing in the Vindra Naipaul-Coolman murder trial, delays have arisen resulting in the matter not proceeding yesterday as was scheduled.

Attorneys representing the accused men made certain submissions before Justice Malcolm Holdip in the Second Criminal Court at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain, resulting in the judge adjourning the matter to tomorrow with the hope of coming to a resolution.

Those submissions were made in the absence of the jury and as such, the contents cannot be made public.

Although the matter was adjourned to tomorrow, the jurors were later advised by the judge that they were not required to return to court until Tuesday.

Apart from the concerns raised, Justice Holdip again reminded the jurors that while hearing the matter, they should refrain from accessing any social media network in relation to the case.

On these sites, Holdip said members of the public would oftentimes comment on the case and that jurors may form certain opinions as a result of those comments if accessed.

“Do not engage in posting blogs. Remember you took an oath and affirmation to hear the case with integrity... In a criminal trial, the evidence is what is said by witnesses within the four walls of the court,” said Holdip.

The judge said he was also requesting the editors-in-chief of all three daily newspapers and certain weekly newspapers that may be reporting on the matter to disable the space reserved for bloggers on their websites.

“I cannot order them to do so, but I am asking if they can work together with us and ask their system administrators to block all comments relative to the case. This case is one of high public coverage and the world is evolving technologically. There are things now that we would not have even had to think about ten or even five years ago,” said the judge.

On Monday, senior counsel Israel Khan delivered the State’s four-hour-long opening address to the 12-member jury and six alternates.

The State is seeking to prove that the 12 men currently before the court were responsible for Naipaul-Coolman’s murder in December 2006, at a house in Diego Martin, eight days after she was kidnapped from the driveway of her Lange Park, Chaguanas home.