Video conference testimony taken in murder trial

Evidence was taken from a witness in a murder trial via video conferencing this morning, making it the second time this method was used in Guyana’s judicial system and the first time in a criminal trial.

Bibi Rameena Hyder Ali who lives in New York testified from the Guyana Consulate via the audio visual link about the events of July 24, 2008 when her husband Akbar Ali was shot dead on Brickdam during a robbery.

She was with him at the time and was regarded as the main witness in the case.

The courtroom for today's hearing. The screen is at right.
The courtroom for today’s hearing. The screen is at right.

During her evidence which lasted for almost three hours she detailed the events of that day and the day of the identification parade which occurred two months later. She was also able to identify the accused, Rondell Bacchus, during the video conferencing.

The apparatus involved in the videoconferencing comprised a white screen, projector, a web cam, two speakers, three monitors and a lap top.

This is the second time such a step has been taken in the court and it comes amid growing concern over the absence of main witnesses owing to migration. The Evidence Act was amended some years back to permit video conference testimony. It was first utilised in February, 2011 during the Amerindian land rights case to facilitate the testimony of UK Professor Audrey Butt-Colson of Oxford University.


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