Jailhouse confessions were repeated in the Court of Appeal yesterday by convicted killer Shawn Parris.
Parris yesterday for the first time testified that Junior Grandison - the main prosecution witness against the ten men convicted of the 1997 murder of Thackoor Boodram - confessed to them that they were innocent.
Michael “Rat” Maharaj, Samuel Maharaj, Damien “Tommy” Ramiah, Bobby Ramiah, Seenath “Farmer” Ramiah, Daniel “Fella” Gopaul, Richard Huggins, Leslie Huggins, Mark “Bico” Jaikaran and Junior “Heads” Phillip are before the Court of Appeal after their case was sent back to consider Grandison’s new admission that he lied at their trial.
The ten were convicted on August 7, 2001, after a trial which lasted 33 days.
Grandison, in his statutory declaration dated June 1, 2011, swore that the evidence he gave at the trial “was false and did not represent the truth.”
Grandison also said he could no longer live with his conscience and decided to come clean
Parris is serving a 30-year prison sentence for the murder of bone specialist Dr Chandra Naraynsingh.
He was called as a witness for the ten men and spoke of conversations he had with Grandison while they were in prison.
“He spoke to me about this case off and on...And spoke of the innocence of the guys he was in the matter with,” Parris said.
He also testified that in 2001 prior to the Boodram murder trial, Grandison said he was not going to give evidence.
“It was shocking to us (when he testified),” Parris said. He also spoke of Grandison falsely claiming to be sick to avoid having to give evidence at the murder trial.
On one occasion Grandison visited his cell in prison and was “in an emotional state”.
“He was crying that he don’t want to give evidence,” Parris said. He described himself as Grandison’s spiritual counsellor and brother in Christ while the two were in jail.
His interactions with Grandison were limited and the only other time he saw him was when he came to Parris’ sentencing hearing in the San Fernando High Court.
“In our world, in prison, I was totally convinced that these guys innocent,” Parris said.
Grandison was again a no-show yesterday although he was summoned to testify at the appeal hearing.