Last update: 04-Dec-2013 12:33 pm
Wednesday, December 04, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Schoolboys on murder charge
Two 15-year-old schoolboys and a 20-year-old man appeared in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court yesterday morning, charged with murdering their 17-year-old friend Reno David. The three friends were not called upon to plea and were remanded into custody after they appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar in the Eighth Court.
The two minors, both of Gonzales, Belmont, cannot be identified as they are classified as minors under the law, while the third accused is Johnathan Lawrence Johnson, of Old Bay Road, Maracas Bay. Ayers-Caesar said because of their age the two schoolboys would be remanded to the St Michael’s Home for Boys, while Lawrence was remanded into prison custody.
Before reading the charges, she spoke to the boys’ parents, who were sitting at the back of the courtroom, and asked them to stand alongside their children in the prisoner enclosure while the charges were being read. Despite his age, Ayers-Caesar also allowed Johnson’s father to stand behind his son for the hearing. “He is 20 but he does not look like 20,” she said.
While their parents stood with their heads lowered, the boys, who barely measured over five feet in height, were seen glancing around the courtroom and smiling periodically. They are charged with killing David between October 17 and 24. He was reported missing on October 18 and his decomposing body was found in a grave in a forested area off Barrow Road, Old Bay Road, Maracas Bay, last Wednesday. The suspects were arrested by the North Eastern Division Task Force (NEDTF) early last week.
A post-mortem at the Forensic Science Centre, St James, revealed David had been beaten and chopped to death. During yesterday’s hearing, attorneys representing one of the minors and Johnson claimed their clients’ rights were breached while they were in police custody. Ian Brooks, who appeared for one of the minors, said the teen was interviewed by police without his parents or a guardian being present and claimed his client might have been abused by police.
“I am informed that when he was first held, he was taped to a chair,” Brooks said. Johnson’s lawyer, Fareed Ali, complained that there was a delay in his client receiving legal advice, saying that the Legal Aid and Advisory Board was contacted a day after he was arrested. He also alleged the three were not allowed to bathe while they were being detained by police for much of last week.
Both attorneys asked for the State to disclose documents related to the case as well as any video recordings of their clients’ interviews. Ayers-Caesar made a note of the complaints and asked the police prosecutor to investigate if they were factual. The three were remanded to reappear in court on November 26.
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