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Courtroom cleared for female cop who turned state witness
Litigants complained loudly yesterday after being denied entry into the Princes Town First Court as former murder accused WPC Nicole Clement appeared on charges of perverting the course of justice. Clement is now a state witness against six of her male colleagues charged with murder.
The litigants, many of whom were anxiously waiting for their cases to be called, had to stand in the cramped corridor outside the courtroom as she appeared in a near-empty air-conditioned courtroom.
Only police who accompanied Clement and other police waiting for their cases to come up were in court at the time. Clement, dressed in a black skirt suit, arrived at the courthouse around 8.45 am surrounded by heavily-armed police in tactical uniforms and was escorted into court by two officers in plain clothes.
She sat in the locked courtroom along with her police escorts. Journalists and members of the public were locked out of the courtroom while Clement was seated inside the courtroom. One woman complained, “It is because she is a police nah.” Another was heard saying, “If it was we, they woulda let everybody see.” At 9.38 am, Magistrate Debra Quintyne arrived in court and called Clement’s matter. Journalists were allowed in for the hearing but members of the public were not.
Quintyne asked Clement if her attorney, Pamela Elder, SC, was expected in court. Clement, who was arrested and charged by Sgt Michael Veronique, said Elder was not appearing in court yesterday. Quintyne asked for Veronique and prosecutor WPC Stacy Chance said she had no information from him.
The magistrate then adjourned the matter to May 7. “That is four months away. You will inform Ms Elder,” the magistrate said. After adjourning the matter Quintyne told police: “I will rise to clear the courtroom then allow members of the public in.”
Clement had been charged, along with acting Sgt Khemraj Sahadeo and PCs Renaldo Reviero, Glenn Singh, Roger Nicholas, Safraz Juman and Antonio Ramadin, with the killing of Moruga residents Abigail Johnson, Allana Duncan and Kerron "Fingers" Eccles.
They were shot at Rochard Douglas Road, Barrackpore, on the night of July 22, 2011. The murder charges against Clement were dropped last June when she turned state witness against her six colleagues. She is free on $100,000 bail. The preliminary inquiry into the triple murder is expected to resume on February 4.
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