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Two found guilty of taxi driver’s murder

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Eight years after taxi driver Adika Nicholas was hijacked and stabbed 54 times, two men were found guilty yesterday of the crime, finally bringing closure to the victim’s family. “I leave this in God’s hands and he work it out,” said Nicholas’ mother Marilyn Wilkinson moments after the verdicts came in.

Avinash Pooran, who was 17 when held, and Winston Alleyne, 38, of Duncan Village, La Romaine, were found guilty of murder after a jury deliberated for two-and-half hours in the San Fernando First Criminal Court. Pooran’s attorney Sophia Chote, SC, requested a probation officer’s report, particularly because of Pooran’s age at the time of his arrest. 

Justice Althea Alexis-Windsor ordered probation officers’ reports for both prisoners as well as a bio-social report, which she said would be useful to the court in determining an appropriate sentence. Pooran and Alleyne went on trial last September 18 charged with the Nicholas’ murder. His body was discovered in a drain at Grants Trace, Rousillac, by a passerby on December 10, 2006.

The State’s case was that the two accused hijacked, stabbed and stole Nicholas’ car, which they scrapped and abandoned. In opening the State’s case, State attorney Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal said the accused had planned to rob Nicholas of his car. The car was found burnt and abandoned in Borde Narve, scrapped of parts. 

Nicholas’ mother had testified that she last saw her son on December 9, 2006 plying taxi in his B-13 at Library Corner. She said she saw when two passengers got into the car but she could not identify either of them. As part of the State’s case, the evidence of acting sergeant Wazir Ali, now dead, who had testified at the Siparia Magistrates Court was read to the jury. 

Ali testified that Pooran took him and other police officers to a gravel road at the back of the old sugar factory at Bronte Road. He said Pooran told him: “This is where we bring the car to try to burn it. I remember them tall bush there.” Ali said Pooran also showed him the area where he kicked Nicholas and the victim fell in a drain. Neither of the prisoners gave evidence but they each called one witness.

Through his attorney Rekha Ramjit, Alleyne denied giving a statement and interview to the police implicating himself in the murder. He claimed the police fabricated the entire thing. The matter will next be heard on March 3 in the Port-of-Spain High Court for a status update on the reports.


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