Neesa Gopaul murder PI…Forensic analyst completes testimony
The preliminary inquiry (PI) into the death of Neesa Lalita Gopaul continued yesterday with Barbadian forensic analyst, Lorraine Alleyne, completing her testimony before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine- Beharry.
The specialist was making her second appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court in the pre-trial hearing that involves Bibi Gopaul, mother of the deceased, and Jarvis Small, the mother’s lover. The two are accused of murdering the teenager in October 2010.
Alleyne had returned to court to give forensic evidence based on DNA samples she would have received from local police to verify whether the dead girl was in fact the daughter of the female accused. Alleyne, on her first visit, was led in her evidence-in-chief by State Prosecutor Pritima Kissoon.
The expert had related her findings based on DNA tests that she conducted and was thus asked to return to court to be cross-examined by Attorney Vic Puran. Puran is representing the dead teen’s mother.
The lawyer put forward a number of questions to the forensic analyst pertaining to her work, laboratory procedures and the end result of potential sample contaminations. The lawyer went blow by blow, questioning on methodology and interpretation based on a manual of procedural DNA testing which he had in his possession.
After an approximate two-and-a-half hours of questioning, Puran was finished with the witness and State Prosecutor Kissoon opted to re-examine. The prosecutor sought to clarify from the analyst, points on maintaining the integrity of samples in such a way that accurate results could be the end product of the tests.
Jarvis Small, in the absence of his lawyer Bernard De Santos SC, declined to question Alleyne. He was so advised by Puran after he attempted to interject on behalf of his attorney.
The PI continues today, when at least three witnesses are expected to take the stand, among them, the prosecution’s star witness Simone De Norbega.
Neesa Gopaul’s body was found in a suitcase which was dumped in a creek on the Soesdyke/Linden Highway. The body was discovered by persons on a family outing at the time. The suitcase in which the teen was found was partially submerged. It was noted that dumb-bells were used in an effort to weigh down the body. It was due to the discovery of items such as the dumb-bells that led to the subsequent arrests and charges.