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Friday 19 January 2018
Crime and Court

P/Town woman on trial for murder

A Princes Town woman went on trial Friday in the San Fernando High Court for the murder of a 60-year-old man, found dead 17 years ago, shortly after he is alleged to have signed a will.

Ira Mitchell is before Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas and a 12 member jury for the January 15, 2000 killing of Balo Seurattan. In opening the case to the jury, state attorney Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal said the case contains a web of lies designed to deceive. She said the case is 18 years old. On January 15, 2000, Dougdeen-Jaglal said, police were called to a house at Petit Café, Princes Town.

They found Seurattan’s body on a bed. Dougdeen- Jaglal said there was a cut over his right eye brow. The prosecutor said an autopsy revealed Seurattan died of a fracture to his spine. She said Mitchell was the last to see Seurattan alive. Mitchell, she said, was the common- law wife of Seurattan’s nephew, Matthew. The three resided in the same house.

Dougdeen-Jaglal said Mitchell told police Seurattan had fallen off a bed and injured himself at the family home which led to his death. However, Dougdeen-Jaglal said that Des Vignes said the injuries Seurattan sustained was impossible to be consistent with a fall. “The State’s case is that Balo’s neck was broken not from a fall, but from a deliberate act,” she said. Dougdeen-Jaglal added that what was also interesting was that one day before Seurattan was found dead, he executed a will. “In this will he left everything for Matthew and there are four people involved in this will,” she said. One of the four is Mitchell, the court heard. The State prosecutor said that one of Balo’s friend, Roy Ramlochan also known as “Chinee” signed as a witness to the will.

But Doughdeen-Jaglal said Ramlochan indicated he never saw Seurattan sign the will. “The State’s case is circumstantial evidence. The main question you need to ask yourself, was this an accident or a deliberate act?”

Ramlochan gave evidence on Friday. Mitchell is represented by Renuka Ramjit and Jaren Ali. Ramlochan said that at about 2.30 pm on January 2015 he went to visit Seurattan at his home. Ramlochan testified that while talking to ‘Balo’, he showed him (Ramlochan) a will, telling him that he (Seurattan) wanted him to sign as witness.

“Ira signed first and I signed after. I did not see Balo sign it,” Ramlochan said. Under cross examination by Ramjit, Ramlochan said he did not know about the will until Seurattan showed it to him. The trial continues next week.

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