Jurors shown guns at cops’ murder trial

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Justice Carla Brown-Antoine –

A cache of firearms was tendered into evidence on Wednesday at the trial of the six policemen charged with the 2011 murder of three Moruga friends in Barrackpore.

Thirteen brown evidence boxes were tendered during the testimony of retired Snr Supt Carl Ramlal.

They contained six pistols, two rifles, a shotgun, two Galil rifles and assorted ammunition.

When invited by the presiding judge, Justice Carla Brown-Antoine, none of the jurors opted to closely examine the boxes or their contents, which were brought into the courtroom earlier in large brown evidence bags by a police officer.

The weapons were those allegedly assigned to the six officers who are on trial for the murders of Abigail Johnson, 20, of St Mary’s Village, Moruga, Alana Duncan, 27, of Duncan Village, San Fernando, and construction worker Kerron “Fingers” Eccles, 29, also of St Mary’s Village. They were killed on July 22, 2011, at the corner of Gunness Trace and Rochard Douglas Road, Barrackpore.

The six police officers – Sgt Khemraj Sahadeo and PCs Renaldo Reviero, Glenn Singh, Roger Nicholas, Safraz Juman, and Antonio Ramadin – are accused of murdering them.

Ramlal said he was the duty officer at the San Fernando police administration building from July 22-23, 2011.

He sent he went to the corner of Gunness Trace and Rochard Douglas Road around midnight and spoke to two officers. He then returned to the San Fernando police station, where he took possession of the assortment of weapons, and, with the assistance of a crime scene investigator, packaged the items.

The weapons were kept in a room in the police administration building to which only he had access.

The sealed boxes – 15 in all – were taken to the Forensic Science Centre (FSC) a few days later.

On October 17, 2011, Ramlal returned to the FSC, where he met with Derrick Sankar, who showed him several evidence boxes which he was asked to identify.

Ramlal said he was told ammunition from two of the boxes he submitted had been used for testing and ASP Raymond Craig collected the certificates of analysis.

He left the FSC with the 13 boxes, which, he said, he lodged with the property keeper in the Marabella police station. One by one, Ramlal identified the 13 boxes, which each had one transparent side through which the items inside could be seen. They were not opened.

Ramlal returns on Friday to complete his evidence.

Police officers who signed off on the weapons assigned to the accused officers previously gave testimony at the trial.

The prosecution is led by special prosecutors Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson and Elaine Green. Also appearing with them are prosecutors Giselle Ferguson-Heller and Katiesha Ambrose-Persadsingh.

The officers are represented by Senior Counsel Israel Khan, Ulric Skerritt and Arissa Maharaj.