Police seek phone records to solve NA taxi driver’s murder

Police have moved to the court to get phone records from Digicel to help them find the person who killed New Amsterdam taxi driver Trevor Kissoon more than a year ago.

Digicel’s refusal to hand over telephone records to police and the negligence by investigators in following up on important eyewitness information, according to the man’s family, are the reasons why Kissoon’s killer is still walking free.

Police had requested records from Digicel for several numbers but that information has never been provided. As a result, the police have turned to the court for an order for the production of the particulars of the customer who purchased the SIM Card for an identified cell phone number as well as all outgoing and incoming called for June 8 to June 10, 2010 for four other numbers.

Trevor Kissoon

Stabroek News was told that the matter is still before the court.

In an affidavit dated September 7, which was later filed at the High Court, Assistant Superintendant of Police (ASP) Trevor Reid said that several requests were made to Digicel Guyana Limited to provide information relating to mobile telephones in the ongoing investigation in relation to the murder of Kissoon, a taxi driver employed with J&S Taxi Service, New Amsterdam between June 9 and 10, 2010.

ASP Reid said that he believed that on the night in question at about 10:50 pm, an unknown male caller, using a Digicel assigned SIM number, requested from the taxi dispatcher the “212 driver” to pick him up him up at the Canje turn. Kissoon, who was driving a 212 AT 192 Silver Carina, was dispatched and later confirmed with the base via his radio set that he had made the pick up and was on his way to Rose Hall.

Kissoon worked the 7 pm to 7 am shift on a daily basis.

On the night of June 9, Reid said, Kissoon’s reputed wife Alexis Thompson borrowed the Digicel phone of a friend (Lashauna Daniels) and made several telephone calls for a period of about fifteen minutes at the end of which she deleted the numbers called, before returning the phone.

Thompson later joined a taxi from ‘Triple S’ Taxi Service and instructed the driver Martin Crawford to take her to Number 19 Village. According to Reid, it is believed that Thompson received a number of telephone calls on her mobile phone and throughout the journey, the caller enquired about her whereabouts and she supplied landmarks.

The woman then instructed the driver – Crawford, to stop the car and she exited. She stood on the roadway while she spoke on her phone and when the conversation was concluded, Thompson rejoined the car and instructed Crawford to drive slowly and to look for a dunks tree on the right side of the road.

As the vehicle approached Bloomfield, Crawford according to the court document saw a large tree and informed the woman, who instructed him to look out for a gate where there was a drum with a red string connecting it to the gate.

When Crawford spotted the site, Thompson instructed the driver to drop her off there. The driver collected his fare and left the woman there around 1:30 am.

Reid said that around 7 am the next day, at the same area where the woman was dropped off, Kissoon’s body was discovered lying face down on the parapet with several injuries to his head and other parts of his body. There was no trace of his car, which has still not been recovered.

Thompson, Reid added, was questioned by the police and gave a statement in which she admitted that she had called Kissoon’s mobile phone on the night in questioned and when he failed to respond, she then called the mobile phone of the passenger who had requested him from the base.

Reid said that the provision of the print out of the incoming and outgoing calls to the landline number of the taxi base By GT&T indicates that the passenger called from a Digicel number. To date, however, Digicel has not released information requested by police pertaining to the mobile phones in question.

It was also noted that the police file in relation to the investigations was forwarded to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and on June 28, DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack wrote to Police Commissioner Henry Greene seeking assistance and intervention in the acquisition of the vital telephone records from Digicel.

According to her letter, under Section 9A of the Telecommunications Act No 27 of 1990 as amended by the Telecommunications (Amendment) Act No 20 of 2008, licensees providing mobile phone services must record and store for a period of five years, not only the particulars of customers activating or reactivating SIM cards but also transactions of persons calling and persons receiving calls as well as the time and duration of those calls.

She stated too that pursuant to Section 53 (2) C of the Telecommunications Act No 27 of 1990, disclosure of such information from the service provider is permitted for certain specific purposes and includes “information which is made in connection with the investigation of a criminal offence.”

Eyewitness

Meanwhile, Stabroek News was told that several months ago a man came forward saying that while he was going fishing, he heard a loud sound which sounded like a gunshot. He walked in the direction of the sound and later saw a young woman and seven men surrounding a man who was lying on the ground. The man said that he was initially fearful but has since decided to come forward.

Police took a statement from the man and though police were advised to do follow up investigations involving the eyewitness, this has not been done to date. A resident of the area where Kissoon’s body was found had also recalled two cars speeding past his house. He called the police and the next day the taxi driver was found dead.

Kissoon’s brother, Stanley Ramsammy, says that the family is perturbed by the police’s approach to the investigation. The man said that it was based on this frustration that he wrote to former president Bharrat Jagdeo, Greene, the DPP and Home Affairs Minister Clement Rohee for assistance.

He said he got an acknowledgement letter from Jagdeo, dated October 21, one from Greene and another from Rohee while the DPP said that the matter is receiving attention and was with the police. Ramsammy said that he even approached Crime Chief Seelall Persaud, who assured him that the matter is being investigated.

The last update from the police was several weeks ago. Ramsammy told Stabroek News that he was shocked to learn that the police had not conducted follow up investigations as had been instructed.

“They (the police) will cost this family justice. I think we can’t depend on the police anymore. That is why we went to the president and the other offices,” the man said, before also expressing concern over the telephone records’ situation.

He said there are too many things in the case that are “red flags” that the police ought to look into without being told to do so. Among them are the different stories that the taxi driver has given to the police.

Ramsammy called on the new government to look into the matter or direct the family to where they can go to find justice, since they are not feeling safe with the security force. He also urged Digicel to cooperate with the police.

A source also told this newspaper that it is strange that more than one year later, there is no trace of Kissoon’s car. Footage from the Berbice Bridge and records from the Guyana/Suriname ferry stelling were also checked but to no avail. Checks were even made at the Licence and Revenue Department, this newspaper was told but that too came up empty.

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