The three accused, Roger Anthony Simon, called ‘Goat Man’; Mark Royden Williams, called ‘Durant’ and ‘Smallie’; and Dennis Williams, called ‘Anaconda’, are accused of being among a number of gunmen, who attacked the mining community of Bartica, Essequibo, on February 17, 2008, killing 12 residents.
The three accused are said to have murdered Lance Corporal Zaheer Zakir, Constable Shane Fredericks and Constable Ron Osborne; Edwin Gilkes, Abdool Yassin Jr, Deonarine Singh, Errol Thomas, Ronald Gomes, Baldeo Singh, Ashraf Khan, Irving Ferreira and Dexter Adrian.
After murdering the three police officers, the gang was said to have stolen cash, arms, ammunition and a vehicle from the police station. Using the stolen police vehicle, they drove through the streets of Bartica shooting at civilians.
The trial, which was ongoing at the Georgetown High Court, is expected to end today when Justice Roxanne George sums up the evidence and sends it to the jury for deliberation.
In his closing submissions on Tuesday, Attorney–at-Law Peter Hugh, asked members of the jury to consider the evidence of several witnesses called to testify on behalf of the state and defence in relation to his client, Roger Simon called “Goat man”.
He noted that no witness other than Chester Benjamin, a policeman, said that his client was at Bartica at the scene of the shooting. Prosecution witnesses, Clebert Reece and Dwane Williams, said that Simon was not there.
Attorney underlined the evidence of Chester Benjamin. Benjamin had claimed to have identified Simon as one of the men who attacked the Bartica Police Station.
However, Hugh noted Benjamin could not say for certain what or whom he had seen during the night of the shooting.
“Perhaps it was Rasta man with a beard, but was it this Rasta man? Hugh queried, pointing to his client seated in the prisoners’ dock, a short distance away.
He said to the jury that once there is reasonable doubt, they must set his client free.
Hugh’s submission followed the arguments presented by Attorneys Roger Yearwood and Saphier Hussein.
Yearwood in his presentation on behalf of the number one accused, Mark Royden Williams, asked the jury to consider the alibi given by his cousin, Sheldon Williams.
He noted that the police had arrested his client at the home of his cousin—- the same place he said he had been doing the time of the killings.
The lawyer emphasized on the evidence provided by State witnesses Clebert Reece and Dwane Williams.
He said that the men could not be credible since both Reece and Williams admitted to being at the scene on the night of the shooting are now testifying on behalf of the State.
Yearwood noted that that is enough to question the motive of the witnesses.
“What would you do if you were implicated in all those murders? Would go down alone?”
Attorney Saphier Husain in his submissions challenged the State’s case noting that none of them were independent witnesses.
“There were no exhibits and the case is highly perforated ladies and gentlemen of the jury.
Husain pointed to the evidence of one witness who is said to have picked out his client Dennis Williams at an identification parade.
“I am submitting to you that, that Identification Parade was futile since he (the witness) was recorded as saying that he identified a brown complexion person as my client.
“Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury my client is dark-skinned,” the lawyer stressed pointing to the prisoner’s dock, but his client was not present— Williams had stopped attending court, days ago.
Husain nonetheless maintained that his client is innocent of the charges.
State Prosecutor, Diana Kaulesar, took the defence to task over their submissions. She described the testimonies (alibis) provided witnesses who testified on behalf of the defence are all concocted and contrived.
She asked the jury to consider the evidence of Dwane Williams and Clebert Reece, both of whom told the court that Mark Royden Williams and Dennis Williams were present at Bartica on the night of the incident.
“Members of the jury, these men placed the accused at the scene of the crime… Once the evidence is overwhelming it is therefore your duty to find them guilty,” she said.
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