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Preliminary inquiry for accused cops adjourned again
For the third consecutive time the preliminary inquiry into murder charges against six police officers failed to start. The six officers, Cpl Khemraj Sahadeo, Constables Renaldo Reviero, Glenn Singh, Roger Nicholas, Safraz Juman and Antonio Ramadin are charged with the murders of Abigail Johnson, Allana Duncan and Kerron “Fingers” Eccles.
On Monday, Magistrate Debra Quintyne, presiding in the Princes Town court, declined to start the matter since she will be proceeding on leave at the end of July. Last month, the matter was set to begin but Quintyne called in sick, forcing an adjournment. It was after that hearing that a police constable, Nicole Clement, who was jointly charged with the murders, turned state witness. The charges against her were dropped.
She was charged with perverting the course of justice. She was granted immunity in exchange for her testimony. When the matter was called on Monday, the accused police officers asked for the matter to be started. They said they would consent to a long adjournment until Quintyne returns in mid-September.
However, the magistrate refused their application. “That may be prudent to them but it is not going to happen,” she said. Johnson, Duncan and Eccles were shot dead last year in Barrackpore, during an alleged shoot-out with police officers on July 22, 2011. At Monday’s hearing, Quintyne informed defence lawyers in the case that she would not start the matter.
Gaspard said he had 25 witnesses ready to testify. Quintyne explained that in three weeks’ time she would be on leave until September and she had a number of murder inquiries she wanted to “focus” on before starting the inquiry against the officers. The matter has been adjourned to July 30.
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