May 21, 2013 News Comments Off on “Alleged cop killer” charged
By Latoya Giles
Heavily shackled and clad in white trousers and shirt, police brought a nervous and shaking Chaka Chase to court yesterday. Chase is alleged to have murdered Police Corporal Romain Cleto on April 27,last, at Georgetown. Chase made his court appearance yesterday before Chief Magistrate Priya Beharry at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
The accused was represented by Attorneys at Law Nigel Hughes and James Bond. Hughes told the court that the police did not take statements from witnesses who could confirm his client’s alibi at the time that the shooting death of the policeman took place.
The lawyer said that he had since sent those statements to the Director of Public Prosecutions. It was at this point that the Magistrate questioned the Police Prosecutor about whether any advice was sought from the DPP in the matter. The Prosecutor told the Court that the DPP’s advice was not given.
The statements which will show that Chase was elsewhere when the shooting occurred were given by several eyewitnesses, including a police officer. The court was told that Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Ali-Hack, is expected to review the entire file before the case comes up again on Thursday.
Hughes further told the court that his client had visited the police station on a number of occasions after his name was being mentioned as a suspect. He was arrested then released after 72 hours. He was again arrested on Thursday last and without any legal advice from the DPP, the Police decided to charge him with murder.
According to the prosecution, gun powder residue was found on Chase’s hands after it was swabbed by the Police. However Chase’s lawyer Nigel Hughes questioned the truth behind that statement. He told the Court that he does not understand why the Police would then release the man if they had found gun residue on his hands when he was swabbed on the same night of the murder after he turned himself in.
The Attorney said that the Guyana Police Force has once again instituted charges without a proper investigation being conducted.
Hughes said that the Guyana Police Force seems to be rushing to another form of erroneous judgment, in which it is bringing to court a young man who will be charged with murder without even beginning to conduct even the most rudimentary elements of investigation.
He added that he had read in the press that the person who allegedly committed the act was someone of either Portuguese or East Indian decent. His client, Chaka Chase, is Rastafarian and of African descent.
“It seems to be another example where a young urban citizen is charged for an offence where there is an inadequate investigation,” Hughes stated. The lawyer maintained that it was not too late for the police to take the statements from the eyewitnesses.
Attorney James Bond in his address told the court that there were burn marks about Chase’s body, which is a clear indication of him being “electrically shocked” and tortured.
Cleto was approaching the vehicle on foot when the occupants opened fire with what is believed to be an AK-47 assault rifle and a nine-millimeter handgun. Corporal Cleto was buried with full military honours. Chase was remanded and is expected to return to court on Thursday.
Relatives of Chase, mainly his sisters and aunts, immediately broke down as they heard that he was remanded. His relatives swarmed the entrance of the court to get a glimpse of a sobbing Chase.
Officers rushed him into the temporary holding facility at the court, before taking him off to the Camp Street Prison. Chase was heard shouting for relatives to briefly hold up his young son.
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