Lawyer says accused in robbery of judge weren’t properly identified

Defence attorney Adrian Thompson yesterday asked Magistrate Zamilla Ally-Seepaul to find Premnauth Samaroo, Anthony David and Nicholas Narine innocent in the robbery of Justice Nicola Pierre and her family, while arguing that they had not been properly identified.

In his closing arguments yesterday, Thompson told the court that the prosecution did not do its job by proving to the court, beyond a reasonable doubt, that his clients were involved in the attack on Justice Pierre and her husband, Mohamed Chan, between July 8 and July 9, 2015.

He began making his submissions after one of the co-accused, Warren McKenzie, failed to provide the court with another witness as had been expected.

Samaroo, David, Narine, McKenzie and Daymeion Millington are on trial for robbery of the judge and her husband as well as for shooting at security guard Ron Peters.

Thompson said that Samaroo, who was the first to be arrested, was in custody with three other men. Samaroo and two of the men who testified on his behalf all had the same story, he noted. The men said they were travelling from Agriculture Road back to Georgetown when their car broke down at Better Hope, on the East Coast. Thompson told the court that it must remember that Samaroo was picked up with three others, but they were never charged with the crime.

He said that in the case of identification, his client was picked out by Peters. Thompson said that on the morning of July 9, it was dark and the guard testified that the men were shooting at him from 80 ft away. Thus, the lawyer said, the conditions for identification were “not proper.” Thompson said that the descriptions that Peters gave to the police were vague and insufficient. He questioned how the guard could identify Samaroo, who was apparently 80 ft away and in the dark. He also questioned how Peters could have identified him at the identification parade given these circumstances and he claimed that the identification of Samaroo by the guard was not a case of recognition. He said the circumstances must cast some doubt in the court.

Narine was identified by both Justice Pierre and her husband via Skype and Thompson argued that this was a process which was inadequate. He argued that the panel that Narine was on at the time was not all viewed at once via Skype. Thompson further told the court that three identification parades were conducted with Narine. He was positively identified in two but in the first one which was done with Justice Pierre he was not identified. The lawyer said the court should attach weight to this, while adding that the Assistant Superintendent who was in charge of the parades failed to provide a form for the first ID parade where Narine was not picked out at.  He only had a record for the two in which Narine was picked out by Justice Pierre and her husband, the lawyer pointed out, while adding that this was quite odd and the court should doubt the identification process as well.

In relation to the alleged confession of David, Thompson said that he disbelieved it and the court should disbelieve it as well. According to the lawyer, during the testimony of Detective Mitchell Caesar, it was claimed that David said that he was the one who provided transportation for the men. This alleged confession, Caesar entered into his personal diary. Thompson argued that a confession of this nature should have been place in a station diary and not in a personal diary of an officer. The lawyer claimed that the confession was fabricated. David, he maintained, was at home with his wife and child on the night of the attack. Thompson said in regard to the prosecution asking David’s wife why she had not gone to the police with an alibi for her husband, “we who know the law would understand, but a layman who would not know that they need to go to the police would not go.”

Thompson said five charges are against his clients, including armed robbery, felonious wounding and discharging a loaded firearm. He said that the system has charged them all with the five charges, not even as accessories, because his clients were not found with a gun. In the case of felonious wounding, he noted that Samaroo was not even identified as one of the men who attacked Justice Pierre and her husband. Thompson said at least they should have known who had hit them that night and identified them.

Thompson closed his submissions by saying that Narine, Samaroo and David should be found not guilty of the crime since the prosecution has failed to prove its case. The matter was adjourned until today for submissions from special prosecutor Nigel Hughes.

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