Apr 08, 2011 News
The preliminary inquiry (PI) into the murder of 16 year-old Queen’s College student, Neesa Lalita Gopaul, continued yesterday with many objections being made by the lawyers representing the accused.
The police are alleging that sometime during the months of September and October 2010, Bibi Gopaul, the girl’s mother, and her lover Jarvis ‘Barry’ Small killed the teen. After certain articles were found with the corpse, the two were arrested and placed before the court.
The (PI) is engaging the attention of Chief Magistrate Priya Beharry at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
Senior Counsel Bernard De Santos and his wife Pamela De Santos are representing Small while Vic Puran stood for Bibi Gopaul.
At the commencement of yesterday’s hearing, state-appointed prosecutor Pretima Kissoon called policeman, Jermain Laundry, to the witness stand. After Kissoon concluded the examination of Laundry, both counsels refused cross-examination.
The prosecution nevertheless made an oral submission for additional exhibits to be tendered into evidence so that Laundry could identify them.
Magistrate Beharry assented to Kissoon’s request. The witness, wearing a pair of surgical gloves, identified the exhibits in open court. As he was doing so, Bibi Gopaul placed her hands to her mouth and wept silently. She was then observed peering through the bars of the prisoners’ dock while the exhibits were being shown to the Magistrate and counsel.
The prosecution then indicated that two other witnesses, Bharrat Samaroo and Nazar Mohammed, were available for cross examination. Both attorneys declined.
With that, Kissoon maintained that the prosecution has established a prima facie case with regard to the cause of death. She noted that the evidence clearly shows that the teen’s death was as a result of an unnatural cause. Kissoon went on to state that there are sufficient substantiations to support this.
Prior to the prosecutor making such a declaration, she re-examined Samaroo. Each and every question asked by the prosecution during that process was objected to by Bernard De Santos and Vic Puran.
Puran acknowledged that he is objecting to the (PI), bearing in mind that the pathologist, Dr. Nehaul Singh has no competence to determine the cause of death to be of unnatural causes. Citing the fact that the post mortem report failed to prove that there is a probability that death was caused by unnatural causes.
The attorneys, defending their objections, attempted to give compelling reasons why the questions asked by Kissoon should not be allowed during the hearing of the (PI).
“Come on, you can’t ask the witness such questions, it will be defeating the whole purpose of the PI” said senior counsel De Santos.
After the Senior Counsel had made his objections, Samaroo’s evidence was read to him by the Magistrate. The senior counsel informed the court that he would be absent from the next hearing, yet Puran will carry on cross-examining Samaroo. The (PI) was made returnable for April 27.
On September 23, last, Neesa Gopaul went missing. Two days later a missing person report was made by her mother at the Leonora Police Station, West Coast Demerara.
The entire country was stunned on October 2nd, when her corpse was discovered at the abandoned Emerald Tower Resort which is located on the Soesdyke/ Linden Highway. Her remains, with the head partly bashed in beyond recognition, were found stuffed in a black suitcase.
Investigating ranks found a bed sheet, black gown and a Republic of Guyana passport along with an Early Savers bank card in the suitcase which was submerged in the creek by two dumbbells.
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