Coroner Nalini Singh yesterday issued warrants for the arrests of two policemen who failed to attend an inquest hearing, where Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr is the subject of the inquest. Singh also ordered that Insp Earl Baird and Cpl Andy Francois be given no bail upon their arrests. She then adjourned the hearing to September 9. The inquest was originally listed for 9 am yesterday, but was adjourned to 1 pm as Singh was presiding at the Chaguanas Magistrates' Court. Baird and Francois were not present at 9 am. At 2.35 pm, when Singh inquired of the witnesses, neither Baird nor Francois was present. Baird, now retired, was the investigating officer when Israel Sammy was shot dead in Maraval in 1998.
Singh said she was not minded to close the inquest without these two officers. She pointed out that Baird was the investigating officer and she needed to have his testimony. The court prosecutor indicated that the two witnesses had attended on the last occasion and were warned to return yesterday. At this stage, Singh issued warrants for the arrest of both Baird and Francois, saying they would get no bail upon arrest. Homicide Bureau officer, Sgt Michael Veronique, was questioned yesterday by counsel for Bakr, Pamela Elder, SC. He said he recorded a statement from Brent "Big Brent" Miller on July 31, 2003, at the Port-of-Spain State Prison. He said when he recorded the statement, Miller had already been charged with the murder of casino supervisor Jilla Bowen at MovieTowne.
Veronique said his signature was not recorded on the statement, neither was the signature of Justice of the Peace Stephen Young, who witnessed the recording of the statement. The policeman admitted that it was an error. He could not say when the recording of the statement had ceased. Veronique said he was aware that Miller implicated himself in the murder of Israel Sammy. He said he was instructed to record the statement from Miller... nothing else. He said he did not go to the Director of Public Prosecutions with Miller's statement. Veronique acknowledged that Miller was never charged with Sammy's death. He agreed that on September 9, 2003, Miller was discharged on all counts arising out of the MovieTown incident.
He said the DPP discontinued the proceedings against Miller. He said Miller was granted immunity from prosecution relating to the MovieTowne killing. A summons was issued for Miller, but he was never served to attend the inquest.
According to a police report, on May 20, 1998, around 2.15 am, four men went to Sammys' home at Darra Street, Boissiere Village No 1, and knocked on the door. One of the men said, "Police, police, open the door." Sammy opened the door and was confronted by four masked men. He was dragged to a nearby ravine and shot twice in the head. He died on the spot. No one was ever held for Sammy's killing.