… CN Sharma sexual assault trial
After four months of achieving nothing the witness protection programme that accommodated the witnesses in the CN Sharma sexual molestation case has been disbanded.
This newspaper was reliably informed that the last witnesses at the holding facility have been allowed to leave.
This follows several previous escapes, which was prompted by allegations by the witnesses of being held in prison like conditions.
The police who were providing security for the witnesses, have continuously insisted that the people whom they were assigned to protect were free to leave at any time since the programme is voluntary.
However, in direct contradiction, ranks detailed to guard the witnesses claimed that they were instructed that no one should contact them nor should they leave the facility.
The issue began to surface following an unsuccessful attempt by the witnesses to leave the holding facility.
On the first occasion they got as far as Sherriff Street before they were apprehended by the police and taken back ‘into custody’.
Last Monday, one of the witnesses, whose name was given as Teresa left the facility after overpowering a female rank who was deployed to guard them.
She detailed conditions akin to a prison coupled with the fact that their health was being compromised.
The most worrying aspect of their situation was the length of time they have been held and have not yet been called upon to testify.
According to one of the witnesses, they were told that the matter would have been expedited, so that their confinement would be limited.
The lengthy delay in having their day in court has certainly taken its toll.
Their situation contrasts sharply with that of a teenager who is testifying in matters related to the operations of the Rondell ‘Fine Man’ Rawlins gang.
The teen, who was a part of the notorious gang, has turned state witness and is being kept in protective custody at a city police station.
It is almost two years since he has been in police custody and according to a source, the youth appears to be happy with the arrangement.
Kaieteur News understands that he is visited periodically by his mother and he is not subjected to the normal prison food.
His stay in custody is expected to be lengthy since the matters in which he is testifying appears certainly headed for the High Court.
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