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Sick juror forces adjournment
A sick juror has yet again caused the adjournment of hearings of the trial of 12 men accused of murdering central businesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman. The State’s main witness Keon Gloster was due to resume his testimony yesterday, but when the case was called in the Port-of-Spain Second Criminal Court, presiding Judge Malcolm Holdip was informed of the issue with the female juror. Holdip said the juror had provided a letter from her doctor which said she needed several days to rest and as a result he had to adjourn the case to next Monday.
In January, Holdip decided to remove an alternate juror who had caused repeated delays in the trial due to illness. Two other jurors have also been removed from the original 12-member jury and six alternates, that were selected at the start of trial in March, last year. However their removal was not due to illness but rather separate conflicts with their fellow jurors. Gloster, who is related to most of the accused men, was allegedly present when Naipaul-Coolman was killed at a house in Upper La Puerta, Diego Martin in December 2006.
Prosecutors are in possession of several statements which Gloster allegedly gave police which led to the men being charged. He has since claimed that he did not implicate the men and was coerced into signing the statements by police. Despite Gloster’s decision to recant on his evidence, prosecutors are expected to tender the statements into evidence and have their contents read to the jury when the trial resumes next week.
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