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Court to hear evidence from the dead

By INDARJIT SEURAJ Tuesday, August 26 2008

click on pic to zoom in
Karl Hudson-Phillips, QC...
Karl Hudson-Phillips, QC...

The court will hear evidence of communications between murdered businesswoman Bernadette Rezende and her attorney, before she was killed over 14-years ago.

Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls made the ruling yesterday, allowing the testimony after the defence had resisted the application to have the evidence heard in open court.

Rezende’s husband Bruce is before Mc Nicolls in the Port-of-Spain Eighth Court charged with his wife’s March 30, 1994 murder.

The evidence in question surrounded conversations between Bernadette and her lawyer, Joanne Julius, prior to her (Bernadette’s) death in 1994.

Lead defence attorney Karl Hudson-Phillips, QC, had objected to this evidence when Julius took the oath and was about to testify in the matter on the last hearing.

According to Hudson-Phillips, these conversations were privileged and could only be revealed if a waiver had been signed before the victim’s death.

In response, the State prosecutor argued that the right of the privilege vested in the hands of Bernadette’s beneficiaries under the intestacy.

She likened the situation to the forfeiture rules under the law of succession, and added that Bruce Rezende was charged with the murder, and so could not claim any right to the privilege.

“He should be barred from taking the benefit of the privilege,” the prosecutor said.

This submission caused a stir, as Hudson-Phillips expressed his “disappointment” at the Independent Senator’s remarks and disregard for the presumption of innocence.

“I am very horrified to hear this from an Independent Senator...,” he said.

The prosecutor, who was also peeved, said Hudson-Phillips was out of line making “accusations” during the court hearing.

“I am disappointed as well,” she said.

Also testifying at yesterday’s hearing were locksmith/ safe and vault technician, Herman Rudd, and retired Inspector of Police, Stephen Ramroop.

The matter continues on Thursday.

Bernadette Rezende, 35, was discovered stabbed to death at her home on St Lucien Road, Diego Martin on March 30, 1994.

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