The teen daughter of Sunil Ramsundar, who claims to have witnessed the altercation that preceded a fatal attack on him on Boxing Day of 2014, yesterday testified that she made a number of mistakes in her witness statement.
Scellina Ramsundar appeared before Justice Sandil Kissoon and a 12-member jury yesterday afternoon at the Georgetown High Court, where Vishwantie Ragnauth and Nyron Thakurdyal are on trial for the crime are on trial for the murder of the Patentia man.
Scellina, now 17-years-old, was 14 at the time her father was killed.
The witness, who was led in evidence by prosecutor Lisa Cave, testified that on the night of December 26th, 2014, the accused and her father had an argument because Thakurdyal had beaten her aunt, “Nalo.”
She had related that Vishwantie, who she referred to as “Shelly,” was her cousin, being the daughter of her father’s sister, while Thakurdyal is Ragnauth’s husband. The two reportedly lived in a house behind her family’s.
Recounting the events, Scellina stated that on the night of the killing, she was at her mother’s shop “gaffing” with her father when his sister, Nalo, came to the passageway at the side of the house. She was reportedly crying, and Scellina related that the reason her aunt was crying was because Thakurdyal had beaten her.
As a result, she said her father began quarrelling and about two to three minutes after, Ragnauth approached and an argument ensued between the two. The witness said the argument lasted approximately four to five minutes.
She stated that after she saw them quarrelling, she brought her father away to the shop with her. Soon after that, her father, along with another aunt, took Nalo home and Ragnauth and Thakurdyal also went away.
The girl said that about five minutes after that, her father returned and positioned himself in the passageway where he was “cussing and quarreling.”
During cross-examination, the witness admitted that her family had had a party that day, which began around 2 pm, and there had been a lot of drinking. She agreed that by 10 pm, when the second altercation occurred, her father had already had a couple of drinks.
Defence attorney Nigel Hughes put it Scellina that after Ramsundar’s sister came, he began “carrying on” and that even after Ragnauth and Thakurdyal left, he went back and began “rowing by heself.” She agreed. She also agreed that where Ramsundar had situated himself was more in the vicinity of the couple’s house than it was located to the shop.
She testified that soon after, Ragnauth came out and held on to her father and they “had a scramble.” Scellina said that Ragnauth pushed her father and he pushed her back, after which Ramsundar held on to the woman’s hands and braced her against the fence of the passageway.
She further stated that Ragnauth began kicking in retaliation. It was sometime around then that Thakurdyal came out and standing behind Ramsundar, reportedly grabbed hold of his hands, freeing the woman.
Scellina said that Ragnauth then began cuffing her father with quick motions about the body, including his back, head and hands. She testified that she heard her father say, “Shelly, watch wah ya do meh gyul,” after which Thakurdyal, responding, “not Shelly alone,” and proceeded to attack her father with the same cuffing motion, hitting him in the back, head, neck, and on the hands.
While this was occurring, she testified that a young boy ran to the scene of the ongoing altercation, as did she. The boy, who she related got there first, told her that they “bore up” her father. She said when she arrived, her father was braced against the fence in a sitting position and his jersey was “full of blood.” The witness said that she screamed and fainted in reaction to the scene.
Asked by Cave about the visibility, she reported that while it was not “too dark” or “too bright,” there were lights around the area; in their yard, the shop, and the street junction. She noted too that she had not been far from the scene, which was located some 45 feet away.
Hughes put it to her that when Ramsundar braced Ragnauth to the fence, she had not seen a knife. She agreed. She also agreed that she had not seen a knife in Thakurdyal’s hands either. When asked later what the accused were wearing, the witness could not recall.
Hughes then put to her that the reason Ragnauth had displayed cuffing motions toward her father was so she could get away from his grasp, after he had her pinned to the fence. The witness hesitated, and after the attorney repeated the question, eventually gave in and stated yes.
She accepted that for the duration of the scuffle she had not seen a knife. But during re-examination, when Cave asked if it was the case that she had been looking for a knife, she said no.
The girl, in her testimony, had said that the accused had had two run-ins with her father on the night he was killed. In the last instance, which developed into an altercation between the three, she said that Ragnauth had been the first to get physical when she pushed Ramsundar, leading him to push her back.
Hughes questioned Scellina on the sequence of events on the night in question, and the validity, drawing attention to the original statement she had given to police on the night of the killing, and comparing it to the testimony she gave yesterday. He asked whether she, in her original statement to the police, had not stated that it was her father that had pushed Ragnauth first. Hughes then proceeded to read an excerpt from Scellina’s original statement verifying such.
Even with accepting that that is what she told police, the witness was adamant that yesterday’s account was the right one. She emphasized that the night she gave the statement was the same night she had witnessed her father’s death.
Another point of Scellina’s testimony questioned by Hughes was her statement that during the final altercation, the young boy had run ahead of her to the scene. She testified yesterday that she had also run to meet them, but the boy got there ahead. However, Hughes pointed out that in her original statement, she had said that the boy went to the scene, then came back to meet her. Scellina said she did not recall saying that. Asked if she wanted to change the statement then, she stated no, but added that “it was a mistake.”
The attorney questioned whether she had then “imagined” such a specific event to relate to police, and put it to her that she had changed her story. Asked if she had lied to the police, she responded no.
She agreed that nowhere in her statement had she mentioned running up to her father, but also put this down to being a “mistake.” She also agreed that she had not mentioned anything about seeing blood, which she also put down to being a mistake.
“When did you discover that you had made all these mistakes?” Hughes asked, to which the witness responded that it was last week, after she had read her statement.
Hughes then noted that Scellina had testified before the Wales Magistrate’s Court in the matter, and asked whether she had not been required to read her statement before testifying. She said she could not remember the details of the proceedings. She also did not remember telling the Wales prosecutor that the statement had any mistakes. Hughes had also pointed out that her mother was present throughout the writing of her statement and asked if the police had not read it afterwards, to which she said she could not remember.
“Your memory is not that clear anymore?” Hughes questioned. “That was a long time ago,” she responded.
Under re-examination, when Cave asked the witness why she had made the statement about the boy to the police, Scellina again stated, “because that was the same night that my father get stab up. Maybe it was a mistake.”
She said she did not give a description of the boy to the police because they had not asked.
Also testifying yesterday were police constable Alex Solomon, police sergeant Krishandatt Singh and sister of the deceased, Sita-Ramsundar Bacchus.
Pathologist Dr Vivekanand Bridgemohan is scheduled to testify when the trial continues today.