Police Sergeant Jomo Williams faced intense cross examination when the trial of Lorenzo Forde, who is accused of the 2013 murder of Pegasus taxi driver Rudrinauth Jeeboo, continued yesterday before Justice Brassington Reynolds at the High Court in Georgetown.
Based on reports, on Friday, December 27, 2013, Jeeboo left his Lot 25 Delph Street, Campbellville, Georgetown home for work. His lifeless body was discovered the following day in a garbage pile at Caneview Avenue, South Ruimveldt, Georgetown.
Investigators who checked the phone records of the deceased found that his cellular phone, which was stolen, was still in use, and it was traced to the accused who was subsequently detained.
Jeeboo’s car was found abandoned on December 28, 2013, on a road in Tucville Terrace, Georgetown, with no number plates.
Forde, who was 17 years old at the time of the killing, has pleaded not guilty to the charge which alleged that between December 27 and 28, 2013 at South Ruimveldt, Georgetown, he murdered Jeeboo.
The accused is being represented by Attorneys-at-Law Hughley Griffith and Rachael Bakker, while the State is represented by Lisa Cave, Shawnette Austin and Tiffini Lyken.
Sergeant Williams was grilled about evidence detectives collected from Jeeboo’s car. During cross examination, Sergeant Williams told the court that the fingerprints found on the car did not match those of Forde. In fact, the police witness told the court that the fingerprints matched those of Shawn Edinborough, who was previously charged with Jeeboo’s murder. However, the charge against Edinborough was discharged in 2015 due to insufficient evidence. When questioned by Hughley as to whether he knew if crime scene investigators extracted a strand of hair from the car, Sergeant Williams replied, “Yes, I later learnt that.”
The police witness admitted to the court that he did not disclose this during his evidence in chief, and that he could not say if the strand of hair matched those of Forde.
Hughley then asked the police witness, “The fingerprints that you claimed matched a particular individual, were you able to make contact with that individual?”
In response, Sergeant Williams said, “Yes, I was able to make contact with that individual.”
He also admitted that he did not disclose this during his evidence in chief.
According to Sergeant Williams, he first met Forde on Tuesday, January 28, 2014 at the Sparendaam Police Station, East Coast Demerara, where he identified himself to him as a police officer in plain clothes.
The police witness recalled that he put an allegation to Forde and cautioned him in accordance with the judge’s rule. But Forde, Sergeant Williams recalled, remained silent. He recounted that the then-suspect was later escorted by him and about four or five other police ranks to the Golden Grove Police Station, East Bank Demerara.
He also recalled that detectives interviewed Forde in the presence of his aunt Marlene Welch – who testified earlier in the trial – and also Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) David.
Sergeant Williams added that the interview was videotaped and also written.
According to the police witness, Welch told him that she wanted to be present for the interview after he explained to her that her presence was needed, since her nephew was under age at the time.
Questioned by Hughley as to if he inquired from his client about his age during the interview, Sergeant Williams said, “I cannot recall if I asked that question. But indeed it was asked during the course of the investigation.” He said that he found out that Forde attended St. Mary’s Secondary School.
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