Assistant Superintendent Simeon Reid, the officer-in-charge of the Guyana Police Force’s Fraud Squad, yesterday testified that after initially identifying himself by another name, fugitive murder accused Troy Thomas did admit his identity and signed to it.
Reid was at the time testifying before Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus at the Providence Magistrate’s Court during an extradition hearing for Thomas, whose identity is once again the subject of contention. The issue had been raised in the High Court during an unsuccessful challenge to the extradition proceedings. As a result of the contention, a voir dire is to be held by Magistrate Isaacs-Marcus.
It is alleged that Thomas, of South Ozone Park, Queens, New York, USA, murdered Keith Frank on December 11th, 2011.
Reid told the court yesterday that relative to a request made by the US Government to the Government of Guyana for the extradition of Troy Anthony Thomas, who is wanted for murder, he helped in locating the man.
Due to the request made, he said he requested a travel itinerary for Thomas from the Central Immigration and Passport Office and he received certain information from the office.
Reid related that on March 14th, at about 8.30 am, he went to the Criminal Investigation Department holding area, where the defendant was being kept. Reid stated that he asked the defendant his name and the man identified himself as Mervin Williams. He subsequently took the defendant along with another officer to his office to interview him. During that interview, he said the defendant admitted that his name was Troy Anthony Thomas and not Mervin Williams. Reid stated that the defendant, who was now identified as Troy Thomas, provided his date of birth, his parents’ name and place of birth. As a result, Reid made an entry in the station diary to that effect and to which he said the defendant signed his name as Troy Thomas. Reid further said that he gave the defendant the reason for his arrest and executed an arrest warrant on him, signed the said arrest warrant and made a diary entry to that effect. Reid testified to being the officer who escorted the defendant on the same day to the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court.
The officer then stated that the reason he gave to the defendant for his arrest was that he was accused of committing a murder in the US, that a warrant was issued for his arrest, and that the US Government made a formal request to the Government of Guyana for him to be extradited. He further stated that he told the defendant if he needed an attorney he would be facilitated with the necessary phone calls to acquire such.
Reid’s evidence-in-chief concluded there with the entries made in the diary and the arrest warrant that was signed being tendered as evidence.
Under cross-examination by Thomas’ attorney, Nigel Hughes, Reid admitted to not being in possession of any form of identification for Troy Thomas. Hughes then asked Reid if he had any form of identification for Mervin Williams, to which Reid stated he had none. He then asked the officer if he had any information if more than one passports were issued to Troy Thomas and if he had made any checks with state registries to know if any documents were issued for Troy Thomas. Reid then stated that he had no information on passports being issued to Troy Thomas and he made no checks with registries to find documents that were issued for Troy Thomas.
The lawyer further questioned the officer, asking if he had ever checked state records to find out if more than one person had the name Troy Anthony Thomas and if he can, through his investigation, tell the court how many persons were born under the name Troy Anthony Thomas. The officer responded, stating that he made no checks with state records and from his investigations he could not tell the court how many persons were born under that name. Thomas’ attorney then stated, “It is correct to say that the first name provided to you for the defendant was Mervin Williams and it is correct to say that you conducted no investigations to find out the identity of Mervin Williams.” Reid responded yes to both questions. The attorney asked Reid if he spoke with any of the persons (mother or father) the defendant identified and Reid responded no.
Hughes suggested to the court that the only basis that Reid can say the individual is Troy Thomas is that the defendant said so and Reid did not deny the suggestion. The attorney further suggested that it was only after Reid spoke with the defendant and after his insistence that the defendant then identified himself as Troy Thomas. Reid denied this suggestion, while stating that the defendant voluntarily gave his name as Troy Anthony Thomas and signed to same.
Under re-examination by the attorney that is representing the interest of the US Government, Reid stated that they had no record of more than one passport being issued to Troy Thomas because his correct name, date of birth and parents name were supplied during the interview and he requested records from immigration office and received a passport application form that had the same information. Reid further stated that the US authorities supplied that information before and during the interview that he conducted, where the defendant confirmed his identity. Reid added that he received information from the US government that the defendant’s fingerprints matched and persons that know the defendant identified him as Troy Anthony Thomas.
Reid clarified that he did not verify the defendant’s identity with any of the persons Thomas spoke of as Thomas related that the persons resided in the US and he had no contact for them.
Magistrate Isaacs-Marcus then stated that the court will proceed with a voir dire as the identity of Troy Thomas remains a live issue and the court must address it before moving on. The matter was then adjourned until July 17th.