Coast Guard murder trial …Four more officers testify in third voir dire
Four police officers were yesterday called to testify as the trial of three former Guyana Defence Force Coast Guard ranks, charged with the murder of a young Bartica gold dealer, continued at the Suddie High Court in Essequibo before Justice Franklyn Holder.
The trial, which began almost two weeks ago, is now hearing a third voir dire (trial within a trial) to determine the admissibility of caution statements allegedly made by the number two accused, Deon Greenidge . Officers Suraj Singh, Rodwell Sarrabo, Naraine Lall and Yvonne Manjet all testified yesterday. The matter will continue today.
On Tuesday, Justice Holder deemed a statement which was given by Devon Gordon admissible into court. According to the judge the statement was given freely. This is the second statement to be admitted into evidence. The number one accused, Sherwin Harte, had his statement admitted several weeks ago when the matter had started.
The three accused Sherwin Harte, Delon Gordon, and Deon Greenidge are charged with the August 2009 murder of Dweive Kant Ramdass which took place at Caiman Hole, East Bank, Essequibo. The three accused are being represented by Attorney at Law, Peter Hugh.
The former army ranks were manning the Coast Guard RC 12 motor boat in the Essequibo River, when they allegedly confronted Ramdass in a boat at the Parika Stelling.
They allegedly forced him into their boat and took him to another location in the river where they relieved him of $17M in cash, which he was carrying in a box to Bartica for his employer, who operated a gold and diamond business in the city.
The prosecution is trying to prove that the three former soldiers strangled Ramdass, took the money he was carrying and threw his body overboard in the vicinity of Bonasika Creek. They will argue that after murdering Ramdass, the three accused returned to the Parika Stelling, where one of their female accomplices was waiting for them.
She is the sister of one of the officers and was reportedly given $5.7M in cash to hold. Prosecutor Judith Gildharie-Mursalin is representing the state.
According to reports, another portion of the money was recovered by the police during a roadblock exercise. The men were committed to stand trial in the High Court in 2011, by Magistrate Nyasha Williams-Hatmin following an 18-month preliminary inquiry at the Vreed en Hoop Magistrate’s Court.
Attorney at Law Khemraj Ramjattan, who was assigned to the matter as Special Prosecutor, had led a total of 14 witnesses to give evidence. The witnesses included persons who saw when the Coast Guard ranks took Ramdass out of the boat, and when they returned to the boat without him, but with a canister that he was carrying.