Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Mitchell Caesar, who is the head of the Major Crimes Investigation Unit, refused to testify in the preliminary inquiry into the murder of Courtney Crum-Ewing after a series of derogatory remarks were hurled at him by murder accused, Regan Rodrigues.
ASP Caesar was the first witness called by Special Prosecutor Nigel Hughes yesterday. However, during the taking of evidence from the witness, Rodrigues, also called ‘Grey Boy’ stood up in the prisoners’ dock and began hurling insulting remarks at the police officer, who appeared visibly upset.
ASP Caesar subsequently told Magistrate Judy Latchman that he will not tolerate being disrespected by the prisoner and left the witness box.
Magistrate Latchman instructed ASP Caesar to step outside the courtroom while she and other police ranks, and even the prosecutor, tried to compose an outraged Rodrigues.
The police rank then left the court room, slamming the door behind him.
“You need to stop behaving like this and let Mr. Caesar give his evidence,” Magistrate Latchman told the murder accused.
The Magistrate explained to him that if there is not sufficient evidence against him she will discharge the matter again. She further explained that if a prima facie case is made out she will send the matter up to the High Court for a judge and jury to decide. Rodrigues’s mother was also called in to calm him down.
According to Rodrigues, he is being made to prove his innocence twice. He said that the police know who killed Crum-Ewing and that they should investigate a Former Attorney General (name called) and a man (name mentioned) who was initially taken into custody for questioning in the murder probe.
He also claimed that a detective (name given) planted a gun in his house.
The matter resumed but ASP Caesar was nowhere to be found when the court orderly summoned his name thrice. Magistrate Latchman rebuked ASP Caesar for disobeying her instructions to not leave the court compound, given the fact that he is an officer of the law.
Crying uncontrollable, Rodrigues maintained that he is being victimized and that he wants to get out of jail and seek employment. The murder accused questioned the Magistrate as to whether she could proceed with the preliminary inquiry without him being present in court.
However, Magistrate Latchman failed to respond and retired to her chambers. The PI was stood down until May 8, when Inspector Eon Jackson is also expected to testify.
In January, Magistrate Latchman informed Rodrigues that he was free to leave her courtroom after she found that there was insufficient evidence for him to stand trial for Crum-Ewing’s killing. The Magistrate discharged the charged against him.
Magistrate Latchman had pointed out that one of the court’s reasons for discharging the matter was because there was no evidence to support that the firearm tendered during the PI was used by Rodrigues to kill the political activist although she believed the gun, a .32 revolver, was confiscated by police during a raid at Rodrigues’s home.
The prosecution’s inability to make out a prima facie was once again highlighted when the Magistrate disclosed that the prosecutor failed to request the court to rule on the admissibility of caution statements allegedly made by Rodrigues.
While stating that several inferences can be drawn from those statements, Magistrate Latchman underscored that they did not implicate Rodrigues in the murder of Crum-Ewing.
However, two months later, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) ordered that the murder case be reopened for the sole purpose of taking further evidence from police witnesses and to rule on the voluntariness of all oral statements made by the accused.
It appeared that after hearing this, Rodrigues went into hiding because he failed to report to the Criminal Investigation Department Headquarters (CID) Eve Leary, Georgetown on numerous occasions.
A few weeks later, the murder accused released several videos that went viral on social media proclaiming his innocence. But he was arrested by police on Good Friday at a house in Middle Road, La Penitence, Georgetown.
The bullet-riddled body of Crum-Ewing was found at Third Avenue, Diamond New Scheme East Bank Demerara on March 10, 2015. The 40 year-old was shot twice to the temple, once to the back of the head and twice to the stomach.
The political activist was well known for his one-man protest outside the office of former Attorney General Anil Nandlall.
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