The start of the preliminary trial of the three men accused of murdering two elderly women, Constance Fraser, 89 and Phyllis Caesar, 77, in their South Road and Albert Street, Georgetown home last year, was brought to a premature end yesterday when one of the accused fainted.
Phillip Suffrien, 23, who was later rushed in an ambulance to the Georgetown Public Hospital, fainted in the courtroom of Magistrate Judy Latchman in Georgetown, where the first witness was in the midst of his testimony.
After the witness, crime scene photographer Constable Troy Henry approached the stand, Magistrate Latchman asked the three accused, Imran Khan, Stephen Andrews and Suffrien if they had any objections to him testifying in the case.
Suffrien then voiced his objection and declared his innocence. The sobbing man stated that he had nothing to do with the murder of the women and said that he was a hard-working young man with a two-year-old son.
He continued crying and reiterating his innocence. The magistrate then asked him to be quiet and to sit so that the witness could give his evidence. She warned him that if he refused to be quiet, the matter would be adjourned until next January.
The witness started giving evidence and Suffrien, who was then seated in the prisoners’ docks, continued sobbing and repeating “God knows I didn’t have anything to do with this.” He continued while raising his voice, which made it harder for the magistrate to hear the witness.
As a result, Magistrate Latchman stopped the witness and gave the floor to Suffrien to say what he wanted to say until he was ready to stop. Suffrien then stated, “God know my heart. I didn’t have anything to do with this. Please believe me, your honour.” Khan and Andrews were also crying by this point. Suffrien dropped to his knees in the docks and cried, “I’m innocent.”
Khan then indicated to the magistrate that he too had something to say. Suffrien was still on his knees when Khan told him, “Boy just stop and tell the truth.” Shortly after, Suffrien collapsed and fainted. After some time trying to revive the accused, officers had to lift him and take him out of the courtroom, which by that point had been cleared as the magistrate left the bench.
An ambulance was then summoned to take the unconscious man to the hospital.
The three men face two murder charges.
It is alleged that between October 2nd and October 3rd, 2017, at Lot 243 South Road and Albert Street, they murdered Fraser. It is also alleged that on the same date and at the very same location they murdered Caesar.
Fraser and Caesar were discovered around 9.30 am on October 3rd by members of their church, the South Road Full Gospel Assembly, after several efforts to contact them proved futile.
Stabroek News was previously told that it was customary for Caesar to open the church every morning. However, church members sensed that something was amiss when she did not turn up to perform her usual duties on the morning of October 3rd. As a result, they made several calls to her and visited the home but got no answer. They then noticed the door to the verandah open, and upon checking, the bodies were discovered. The police were immediately summoned.