A police witness yesterday testified that the AK-47 assault rifle found with murder accused Cyon Collier, called ‘Picture Boy,’ was said to be a missing army weapon.
As Collier’s trial continued before Justice Winston Patterson, Assistant Super-intendent of Police Michael Kingston, facing cross-examination by defence lawyer Linden Amsterdam, said he was aware that the army had lost a number of weapons, including AK-47s, all of which have not yet been recovered.
Amsterdam asked Kingston whether he saw cause to investigate if Collier was military or paramilitary personnel and if the weapon found with the accused had indeed belonged to the army.
“Yes, I check to see if it’s the army firearm… it is the army firearm,” Kingston said. However, he indicated to the court that he had made no inquiries with the army. Instead, he said, a higher rank made a telephone call and some information was passed on, after which the call was returned.
Kingston explained that he answered the call. Although the caller did not identify himself, he said it was suggested that it was “the army man” calling back. Imme-diately after the second call, he added, he was told something that confirmed the identity of the caller. Kingston was uncertain whether further inquiries were made by anybody else.
It is alleged that Collier murdered Chandrapaul Persaud, 34, known as ‘Ravin’ and ‘Kero Man,’ on September 30, 2006. Persaud was shot by one of three gunmen who launched an attack on him outside his Non Pareil, East Coast Demerara home, minutes after he drove his vehicle into the yard.
Amsterdam asked Kingston whether he anticipated a violent confrontation, given the size of the back-up party that accompanied him to the house at Lot 23 Bachelor’s Adventure, East Coast Demerara, where Collier was found. Kingston responded in the affirmative, while adding that he was expecting to find two persons in the house. He said he and his backup used the staircase on the southern side of the house to access the house. He said they met a locked door and after extensive knocking, the accused opened without inquiring who was at the door. He was told of the allegation and cautioned.
Kingston said at that point, he was unaware whether there were any other occupants but added that immediately after the door was unlocked, he asked the accused if he was alone, to which he responded positively. “I open the bottom half door and entered the house,” Kingston stated, adding that from where he stood, he could have seen down the hallway. “Only place I couldn’t see was in the bedroom,” he said.
He explained that there was no violent confrontation and instead Collier led him to the bedroom, where the AK-47 and 13 rounds were discovered.
It was brought to the court’s attention that the first time the magazine, in which the rounds were kept, was mentioned was before Justice Patterson. Kingston then stated that he was unable to recall if he had spoken of the magazine at the preliminary inquiry at the Magistrates’ Court but later said that it was heard “later down in his evidence-in-chief.”
“You found the AK-47 with 13 rounds on the ledge or whatever but when the ballistics man open the package you took to him, it wasn’t wrapped in paper or anything. It was in a magazine. He wouldn’t have examined what you found,” Amsterdam said to him. Kingston said he did not understand the question.
Kingston told the court that he had asked Collier if the weapons belonged to him and who had supplied them but “he (Collier) was silent.”
The state’s case is being led by Judith Gildharie-Mursalin while Collier is being represented by Amsterdam, Keshia Chase and Yollanda Lamott.