A separate trial is being sought for the police corporal jointly charged with Cadet Officer Franz Paul with attempting to pervert the course of justice in the April 30, Alex Griffith shooting.
Sandil Kissoon, attorney for Corporal Baichand Singh, yesterday urged the court to hear his client’s case separate from Paul’s. He said that the joint hearing will unconsciously influence Singh’s matter, which he described as independent and relating only to evidence in a station diary. He further suggested that the case be sent to the Chief Magistrate for re-assignment.
In addition to the joint charge he faces with Singh, Paul is charged with discharging a loaded firearm at the 15-year-old Griffith with intent to maim, disfigure or cause bodily harm, to which he pleaded not guilty.
He was also charged with inflicting grievous bodily harm and unlawful assault and pleaded not guilty to those charges as well.
At the time of the incident, Paul was said to have been personally investigating a robbery committed on his sister. Griffith, who the police believed was a witness to the robbery, was picked up for questioning.
Griffith had told Stabroek News that he had been at a friend’s home when a robbery occurred outside. Though he had been unable to see what had transpired, he said, two van-loads of policemen later went to his East La Penitence Squatting area home to question him about the identities of the robbers.
He said he told the ranks that he was unaware of the robbers’ identities but was still taken from his home, placed in one of the vehicles and driven around the area. He said the vehicle eventually stopped in front of the home of one of the suspected robbers in the East La Penitence area.
However, the person was not at home. He alleged that Paul forced him from the police vehicle and ordered him to lie on the ground, where in an effort to glean information, he played Russian roulette.
Griffith was shot in the mouth and subsequently dropped off at the hospital by the ranks who left shortly afterwards.
Paul had been denied bail on two of the charges, but this was later granted in the High Court.
Singh is also on bail.
The case will continue on July 21, when the prosecution is expected to reply to the application.