Alvin Kissoon formerly of 395 Kaneville, Grove, East Bank Demerara and Calvin King formerly of 280 Savage Street, North East La Penitence, Georgetown have pleaded not guilty to murdering security guard John Friday during a January 2013 robbery at the Lethem Post Office. Kissoon and King were both arraigned before Justice Sandil Kissoon yesterday at the Demerara High Court.
Their trial commenced before a 12-person jury. Presenting the State’s case are Prosecutors Abigail Gibbs and Mandel Moore, while lawyers, Lyndon Amsterdam and Adrian Thompson are appearing for the two murder accused. Prosecutor Gibbs, in relating brief facts, told the jury that the two murder accused left Georgetown for Lethem where they robbed the post office, killing Friday during the process. Among the witnesses testifying yesterday was Cecelia Austin who has been employed with the Guyana Post Office (GPO) as a Post Mistress for the past 29 years.
Austin told the court that during January 2013 she was stationed at the Lethem Police Station. She recounted that on January 19, 2013 at around 06:55am a staffer of the post office came at her home and told her something after which she immediately contacted 911. According to her, she then went down to the Lethem Police Station where she saw police ranks conducting investigations.
Austin said that she entered her office, along with a staffer, after the police wrapped up their work and informed her that the post office had been broken into. She said that upon entering her office she discovered mails scattered all over the floor and that two safes which stored money and other valuables. She recounted that one of the safes contained $1,000 notes, while the other contained $500, $100 and $20 notes, stamps, a cellular phone and 41 $500 GTT landline phone cards.
Austin added that when she left work for home on January 18, 2013, a total of $4.6M was in the two safes. The monies were missing when she returned the following day. Asked by Prosecutor Gibbs to explain how the safes are secured, Austin said that a master key, an iron bar and a padlock were used to lock both of the safes. She also recounted that prior to the robbery, Kissoon had visited the post office to uplift a money order for $20,000, but was unable to do so as he had no form of identification.
Also testifying was Police Corporal Detective Delon Melville, the Subordinate Officer in charge of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at the Port Kaituma Police Station. In his evidence, Corporal Melville told the court that during January 2013, he was stationed at the Lethem Police Station and attached to the General Duties section.
According to the police witness, on January 19, 2013 at around 05:58am a report was made to the station about an alleged robbery at the Lethem Regional Democratic Council (RDC) office in which the post office was housed. As a result of the report, Corporal Melville said that he and a party of policemen went to the scene where they were instructed to take an injured man to the hospital.
The police witness said that he went back to the scene after which he visited the home of a man and arrested him after receiving information that he was involved in a robbery. That man, Corporal Melville related, was never charged in relation to the robbery. Friday’s sister also testified. The woman who has been an employee with the GPO for 33 years recounted that on January 21, 2013 she witnessed a post mortem being conducted on the remains of her brother who was buried the next day.
This trial continues today.
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