Prosecution closes case in Aranka murder trial

The prosecution yesterday closed its case against Mark Thompson, who is accused of murdering Brazilian miner Jose Rodriguez De Oliveira over six years ago.

The allegation against Thompson is that on August 7, 2010, he murdered De Oliveira at Aranka Backdam, Cuyuni River, Essequibo Coast.

He has pleaded not guilty.

Testifying before the close of the prosecution’s case was former Police Sergeant Wilfred Murray, who recalled being on duty on the day in question and receiving certain information.

Murray, who was attached to the Bartica Police Station, said that as a result of the information he received, he and corporals Lowe and Alfred travelled to Aranka Backdam. Upon arrival, the witness recounted lawmen questioning several persons and the accused being pointed out.  He said that when he first contacted Thompson, he was in a sitting position, bracing a post, with his hands and feet tied with a piece of rope.

Mark Thompson
Mark Thompson

About 12 feet away from the accused, Murray said he saw the motionless body of the deceased, lying on tarpaulin, with what appeared to be blood.

As a result of what he saw, the witness said he instructed Corporal Lowe to photograph De Oliveira’s body and to conduct further investigations into the matter.

He said that he and the other two policemen, in the company of the accused, the deceased and other persons who had to be further questioned, travelled out of Aranka the following morning.

Upon arrival in Bartica on August 9, Murray said that Alfred was given charge of De Oliveira’s body, while he and Lowe took the accused to the Bartica Hospital for a medical certificate and subsequently placed him in custody at the Bartica Police Station.

The former lawman said that later on the same day, he was present at the station when Lowe cautioned the accused, who in turn elected him (Lowe) to write a caution statement, which he later made.

According to Murray, after Lowe had written what was dictated to him by the accused, he read it back to Thompson, who in turn signed to it being true and correct, after which he (Murray) also signed as a witness.

The witness pointed out that at no time did he or anyone in his presence force, threaten, induced or hold out any promises to the accused for him to make the statement.

Under cross-examination by defence attorney Peter Hugh, Murray disagreed with counsel’s contention that the accused barely spoke English. The witness stressed that Thompson spoke English all through the trial.

Murray also disagreed with counsel’s suggestion that the accused was told he would get “more licks” if he did not sign the caution statement.

Testifying yesterday also was pathologist Dr Nehaul Singh, who said that De Oliveira’s death was caused by hemorrhage and shock, due to multiple incised wounds, compounded by blunt perennial trauma. The trial is being heard by Justice James Bovell-Drakes and a 12-member jury at the High Court in Georgetown.

The case continues this afternoon at one o’clock.

Representing the state is Prosecutor Tamieka Clarke.

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