Last update: 06-Dec-2013 1:00 am
Friday, December 06, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Coolman murder trial slated for next Monday
The High Court judge presiding over the trial of a dozen men accused of kidnapping and murdering businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman has asked jurors to consider each accused man’s liability individually and not judge them as a group. Justice Malcolm Holdip made the statement while reading pre-trial instructions to the 12-member jury at the Port-of-Spain Second Court, Hall of Justice.
Holdip said: “You do not have to make the same decision for each person who is charged with an offence. Each is entitled to individual and separate consideration and decision.” He told the jurors to keep an open mind when hearing the evidence presented in the trial and to listen without “prejudice, bias or sympathy.” He also said they should refrain from researching the case on the internet.
“Radio, television, newspaper and internet reports via Google, Facebook, and Twitter, or anything you have heard from anyone else about this case or the persons or places involved in it, are not evidence. You should ignore them completely,” Holdip said. Holdip told them if they were contacted by anyone who wanted to discuss the case, they should immediately report the incident to the court.
After giving the instructions to the jurors, which also included some directions on how they should assess the evidence, both direct and circumstantial, Holdip asked them to return to the jury-room to elect a foreman. Less than a minute later, they returned to say they had selected juror number two. Holdip then formally placed the accused men in the care of the jury before adjourning the case to next Monday. He said it could not begin yesterday as attorneys will be engaged in legal arguments for the rest of the week.
Shervon “Buffy” Peters, Keida Garcia, Marlon and Earl Trimmingham, Ronald Armstrong, Antonio “Hedges” Charles, Joel “Ninja” Fraser, Lyndon “Iron” James, Allan “Scanny” Martin, Devon Peters, Anthony Dwayne Gloster and Jamille Garcia. A 13th man, Raphael Williams, was charged but died in prison last year.
Naipaul-Coolman, 52, of Lange Park, Chaguanas, was kidnapped as she arrived home on December 19, 2006. Her abductors demanded a $3 million ransom, and her relatives paid part of it. But she was not freed and her body was never found.
The legal teams:
Senior Counsel Israel Khan, Gilbert Peterson and Dana Seetahal are prosecuting. The men’s legal team includes Joseph Pantor, Ulric Skerritt, Selwyn Mohammed, Ian Brooks, Wayne Sturge, Frank Peterson and Colin Selvon.
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