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Jury sees photo of gun found a month later
The jury in the trial of 12 men accused of murdering Central businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman yesterday was shown a photograph of a gun that was recovered in Diego Martin by a team of 100 police officers and soldiers almost a month after she was abducted. The photograph was one of 25 taken by police photographer and crime scene investigator acting Cpl Bruce James, who accompanied other officers during a raid on several houses in La Puerta Avenue, Diego Martin, on January 6, 2007.
James, the 11th witness in the trial before Justice Malcolm Holdip in the Port-of-Spain Second Criminal Court, began testifying yesterday. He said when he arrived around 5 am he was greeted by three senior officers, who told him to take photographs of the inside and outside of two houses, one a two-storey, the other a single-storey red brick structure.
The photographs included the rooms of the houses as well as one which showed a gun lying near a knapsack in a two-storey house. James said he was led to the top of a hill a short distance away where he was ordered to photograph items near the base of a large tree. He said the items included two cigarette butts, a cap and a latex glove which were collected by his colleagues for evidential purposes.
When defence attorneys asked for further details of what he saw, James declined, saying he could not recall as he had misplaced his personal diary in which he made notes during his brief visit to the scene. James’ evidence was preceded by that of Abid Nabbie, a long-standing employee of Naipaul’s Xtra Foods, who was selected to drop off a $122,000 ransom hours after Naipaul-Coolman was kidnapped outside her Radix Road, Lange Park, Chaguanas, home.
Nabbie had testified that although the task was not within his job description he did it anyway out of a sense of duty to his employer. His cross-examination was completed yesterday morning. He testified that operations at the company’s branches at Grand Bazaar and Chaguanas were not affected by the incident and opened for business the following day. The trial continues this morning with defence attorneys expected to complete their cross-examination of James.
Who’s in court
The 12 men before the jury and Justice Malcolm Holdip are Allan “Scanny” Martin, twin brothers Shervon and Devon Peters, siblings Keida and Jamille Garcia and their older brother Anthony Dwayne Gloster, brothers Marlon and Earl Trimmingham, Ronald Armstrong, Antonio Charles, Joel Fraser and Lyndon James. Raphael Williams was also charged but died in 2011.
Defence team: Ulric Skerritt, Joseph Pantor, Selwyn Mohammed, Lennox Sankersingh, Ian Brooks, Wayne Sturge, Mario Merritt, Richard Valere, Colin Selvon, Vince Charles, Christian Chandler, Delicia Helwig and Alexia Romero.
Prosecution team: Senior Counsel Israel Khan and Gilbert Peterson, assisted by senior state prosecutors Joy Balkaran and Kelly Thompson.
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