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$25,000 bail for cop in hit-and-run

Tuesday, August 26, 2014
Police Constable Marvin Burke, left, accompanied by his attorney Denyse Gouveia, leaves the Tunapuna Magistrates Court yesterday.

The police officer charged with knocking down a pensioner and leaving him for dead along the Priority Bus Route, St Joseph, two weeks ago appeared in court yesterday but was not charged with causing the man’s death. Constable Marvin Burke, 38, who has 20 years service, pleaded not guilty to charges of failing to render assistance following an accident and failing to report an accident. The accident claimed the life of 65-year-old Ralph Abraham. 

Police say they are awaiting instructions from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions before he is charged with causing the man’s death. Around 8 pm on August 17, Abraham was returning to his home at Agostini Street, St Joseph, when he was struck by a vehicle while attempting to cross the Priority Bus Route. He died instantly. An autopsy done by pathologist Dr Valery Alexandrov revealed he suffered a fractured rib cage, punctured lung and liver, a ruptured heart and three spinal fractures. 

He was struck from behind and his body was flung several feet into the air upon impact. His legs were also fractured. Burke, who was assigned to the Santa Cruz Police Station, appeared before magistrate Siumungal Ramsaran and is expected to re-appear in court today when issues relating to his bail are expected to be sorted out. The officer, who was represented by attorney Denyse Gouveia, was granted $25,000 bail at the St Joseph Police Station on Saturday after spending five days in custody. 

He was allowed to leave after depositing $15,000. Ramsaran ordered Burke to return today to ensure that all the necessary documents pertaining to his bail was up to standard before he endorses his previous bail. Ramsaran has the power to alter the bail and even revoke it. Gouveia asked that all relevant documents pertaining to the case be disclosed to her at the nearest convenience as she hopes that the matter would begin on September 26.

She added that her client was in custody since Tuesday and she was eager to get the matter started.