Murder accused freed, rearrested
Failure on the part of a magistrate to thoroughly document happenings during a preliminary inquiry in a murder case, yesterday caused Justice William Ramlal to set murder accused, Elroy Torres, to walk out of the High Court a free man.
However after leaving the court, the accused, Elroy Torres, who was accused of killing, Elizabeth Hutson in December 2005, was rearrested and remained in police custody.
Since presiding Judge, Justice William Ramlal, did not stay the proceedings, the way is clear for the state to reinstitute the charge against Torres.
For the second time, the accused will have to go through a preliminary inquiry and then his fate will be determined should he be committed to stand trial in the High Court.
In his ruling yesterday, Justice Ramlal said the magistrate during the Preliminary inquiry did not rule on the admissibility of the caution statement. He added that the caution statement in any matter is deemed the body and soul of the case and it should have been documented, whether or not the caution statement, be it oral or written, was given voluntarily.
He stated that in the Magistrate’s notes it was only documented that the caution statement was tendered as evidence. The lawyer for the accused then made objections. Nowhere in the notes was it stated whether a voir dire was done to determine if the caution statement was voluntary.
Justice Ramlal went on to state that there was also no indication that the accused was given an opportunity to put forward his case.
The judge said that since there was insufficient evidence, the committal proceedings were deemed void.
It is alleged that on December 19, 2005, the accused murdered Elizabeth Hutson, called Shelly, outside a city bar. He reportedly stabbed the woman to death.