-police witness contradicts colleagues’ evidence
Magistrate Fazil Azeez freed Kishore Rambarran on a narcotics charge imposed on him following a Police boat chase in the Demerara River one night in February 2008.
The Magistrate accepted a defence no-case submission from Attorney-at-law K. Juman-Yasin, to the effect that there was no case for the defendant to answer.
The chase resulted in the seizure of 13.5 kilograms of cannabis and an outboard motor and charge against the defendant on the night of February 13, 2008.
But the prosecution’s case broke down when the defence, through a police witness, led evidence to show that the bulky bag with cannabis was found floating in the river and not in the defendant’s boat as alleged by two other police witnesses.
The witness had made an entry in the Station Diary about what the defendant said after being cautioned.
Constable Fraser had taken part in the river chase that night but was not called as a witness for the prosecution but was called by the Magistrate as witness for the court.
He admitted that on the very night, he had in fact, searched the boat and did not find the bulky bag with cannabis.
Constable Jeffers was recalled and the suggestion was put to him that the boat had been stopped in the Demerara River and searched by Constable Fraser and no bulky bag with cannabis was found.
At this stage the Police closed their case without calling Constable Fraser.
A request was made by Defence Counsel Juman-Yasin to the Court that Constable Fraser be called by the Court to give evidence that he Fraser had given a statement to the Police and that this statement was in the Police file.
The statement of Constable Fraser exculpated the defendant and was violently different in content from the evidence with Cpl Jeffers and Const. Bridgmohan, the lawyer argued.
The learned Magistrate acceded to the request and Constable Fraser was called as a witness. He was sworn to and was put up for cross-examination by both prosecution and defence.
Under cross-examination by Juman-Yasin, Constable Fraser conceded that the boat had stopped after Jeffers fired a shot in the air. A search was carried out by him in the Demerara River and nothing suspicious was found. He said that after the boat left, he, Jeffers and Bridgmohan continued on patrol up the Demerara River. He said that about 15 feet from where they had stopped the boat with the defendants, they saw a salt bag floating in the river.
Jeffers collected the bag and opened it. He collected a quantity of seeds, leaves and stems, believed to be cannabis. They then turned around and went to Wales Police Station. On their way, he saw a moored boat and it was the said boat in which the defendant and others had been in. No one was in the boat.
The witness said he saw Jeffers take the salt bag and placed it in the boat and towed it to the Wales Police Station.
In his statement, Fraser said that he had searched the boat in the river that night and found nothing suspicious.
He stated that he did not see the defendant or anyone throw anything from the boat.
Defence counsel later submitted that the prosecution’s case was manifestly unreliable and that the credibility of Jeffers and Const Bridgmohan was seriously in doubt.
Magistrate Azeez subsequently upheld the submission and dismissed the case against the defendant having found that the evidence of the Prosecution’s case had broken down by the evidence of Police Constable Fraser.
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