Defence attorneys yesterday made no-case submissions after state attorney Judith Gildharie-Mursalin closed her case in the trial of the two men accused of murdering nine-year-old Sade Stoby.
Defence attorneys Raymond Alli and George Thomas are representing Jevon Wharton and Charles Cush, who are accused of the rape and murder of Stoby at Mocha, East Bank Demerara in 2007.
Wharton, 23, and Cush, 21, are on trial before Justice Navindra Singh and a 12-member jury at the High Court, where both Stoby’s mother and Cush’s mother were present when the prosecution closed its case.
Stoby’s mother has been present at every hearing.
Gildharie-Mursalin closed the state’s case after calling her final witness, Wendella Knights, Charles Cush’s aunt, who testified that the police in no way used force or threats in her presence to get Cush to give a caution statement which placed him at the scene of crime when Sade was murdered.
Knights said she heard the police questioning her nephew about Sade’s murder but he denied having anything to do with her death. She said Cush gave the police a statement concerning the day Sade disappeared and signed it along with herself. She told the court that she did not see any police threaten or force him to give the statement.
Earlier, defence Counsel Thomas had suggested to Corporal Royston Blair that he—Blair—had hit Cush in the head and forced him to give the statement but Blair denied the allegation. So when Knight was giving evidence, the state attorney asked her if Cush was beaten with a book or if a black plastic bag was placed over his head to cause him to give a caution statement. She replied no.
Blair, under cross-examination by Thomas, said Cush never admitted to him that he killed Sade. He was also questioned why he did not investigate Cush’s statement after he placed Wharton and Carlos Hubbard, another man who was released after no evidence was given against him, at the crime scene. The question was put to him again after Hubbard gave an alibi, hence bringing inaccuracy to Cush’s statement. He was further asked why Cush was not questioned why he placed Hubbard at the crime scene when he was working on a vessel for a company at the time of the murder. “You didn’t care whether it was true or not! As soon as you got the statement you put it in a file and charged him!” Thomas scolded at him.
But Blair denied Thomas’ declaration, saying that he had sought advice from the Director of Public Prosecutions on the statement before Cush was charged.
Cush, in a caution statement, had admitted to witnessing Jevon Wharton and Hubbard rape the nine-year-old. He stated that he did not have sex with her and instead left the two men and went for a swim in a canal in the village. However, Dr. Mohan Persaud, a medical expert in the trial had testified to finding abrasions and lacerations on the penises of Cush and Wharton when he examined them shortly after Stoby’s body was discovered in a drain.
Wharton, in a caution statement, had also admitted to having sex with Stoby. Gildharie-Mursalin had said that all the state had to prove was intention to rape since it was a felony murder.