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Vindra’s murder trial set to begin next year
After several delays, the trial of 12 men accused of kidnapping and murdering businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman almost six years ago is set to begin early next year. When the case came up on the cause list in the Port-of-Spain High Court yesterday, Justice Mark Mohammed said preparations were under way to have the matter ready for trial early next year.
He said the Judiciary would need to prepare a temporary court to house comfortably the 12 accused and their lawyers during the trial. Mohammed said: “The adequacy of the Hall of Justice to host this trial is something that has to be looked at.” He suggested the use of the Chaguaramas Convention Centre, a venue which had been converted in the past to house a large court which was designated the Chaguaramas High Court.
The last trial to be heard at the makeshift court was that of convicted murderer Dole Chadee and several members of his gang. During yesterday’s hearing, several of the accused said they were finalising arrangements for their defence attorneys with the Legal Aid and Advisory Authority.
The lack of defence attorneys for the accused has caused several delays in the past, as they have refused to proceed without their chosen legal counsel. The accused are Shervon Peters, Keida Garcia, Marlon and Earl Trimmingham, Ronald Armstrong, Antonio Charles, Joel Fraser, Lyndon James, Allan Martin, Devon Peters, Anthony Dwayne Gloster and Jamille Garcia.
A 13th man, Raphael Williams, was charged with the crimes but died in prison last year from complications of sickle-cell anaemia. Naipaul-Coolman, 52, of Lange Park, Chaguanas, was kidnapped as she drove into her driveway on December 19, 2006.
A $3 million ransom was demanded by her abductors for her safe release, with a portion being paid by her relatives. However, she was not freed and her body was never found. The case will be prosecuted by Senior Counsels Gilbert Peterson, Israel Khan and Dana Seetahal. The accused are to reappear in court in November 6.
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