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Monday 24 September 2018
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Relatives threaten police with voodoo

Andre Nicholas Lavia is escorted by police officers to the Port of Spain Magistrates' Court, where he appeared for the January 26 murder of prison officer Davendra Boodooram. Photo Roger Jacob
Andre Nicholas Lavia is escorted by police officers to the Port of Spain Magistrates' Court, where he appeared for the January 26 murder of prison officer Davendra Boodooram. Photo Roger Jacob

UPDATE:

ALLEGATIONS of fabrication of evidence and assault have been levelled against the police by the man charged with the murder of prison officer II Devendra Boodooram in January.

Twenty-four year-old Andre Nicholas Lavia, of Basilon Street, East Dry River, Port of Spain, appeared before acting Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle, charged with Boodooram’s murder on January 26, at Frederick Street.

After the murder charge was read to him, his attorneys complained about the police’s conduct.

Earlier, as Lavia was brought to the St Vincent Street courthouse, just before 2 pm, his relatives hurled insults at the police, accusing them of framing Lavia for the murder.

As they paced the pathway to the Port of Spain magistrates’ court entrance, three female relatives shouted at the police who were guarding the courthouse during the hearing of the preliminary inquiry into the murder of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal.

They also threatened to “do voodoo” on the police officers involved in the investigation into Boodooram’s murder. Inside the court building, the women had to be warned by police to behave. Lavia’s wife wept before and during his appearance.

When he was brought before the magistrate, and after the murder charge, and two additional charges of firearm and ammunition possession, were read out to him by Earle-Caddle, Lavia’s attorney Richard Clarke-Wills complained about the identification parade conducted by the police on Wednesday.

He said Lavia’s wife was not allowed to attend the parade. He also complained that despite enquiries for the nature of the evidence against his client, he does not know on what basis the murder charge was laid.

The summary of evidence was also not available, court prosecutor Sgt Rawle Ramharack informed the chief magistrate, as he said police’s file on the investigation was still being compiled to be sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for a state attorney to be appointed to prosecute.

To this, Clarke-Wills said, “We are concerned that they are fabricating the case as they are going along.”

The lawyer was advised to write to the Court and Process Branch for the summary of evidence and Earle-Caddle adjourned the case to next Thursday to get a status on the police’s file as well as the summary of evidence.

A fourth charge was then read out to Lavia of possession of marijuana. It is alleged he was with the illegal drug while in police custody, yesterday. He pleaded not-guilty and opted to have the case heard summarily in the magistrates court. That matter was transferred to the 4B Court. The marijuana exhibit was not brought to court as the police officer who charged Lavia for the murder and the other charges had a personal emergency and was not in court.

Clarke-Wills complained that Lavia was “manhandled and slapped down” by eight police officers whose names he did not know at the Central Police Station on St Vincent Street.

The lawyer said it was passing strange that the drugs were found on his client early Friday morning when Lavia has been in custody since his arrest on the Easter weekend.

Clarke-Wills said since Lavia’s arrest, he has been shuttled back and forth from the Besson Street Police Station to the Homicide Bureau of Investigations offices at Riverside Plaza to the Central Police and thoroughly searched each time by police.

Clarke-Wills also said his client had serious concerns that he may be subjected to retributive conduct by Boodooram’s colleagues when goes to the prison.

Lavia, a landscaper, also denied the aliases the police claimed he is known by – Brandon Thomas and Wetman Andre.

Earle-Caddle took a note of all the complaints.

Boodooram, 52, of Surrey Village, Arouca, was driving on Frederick Street after finishing his shift at the Port-of-Spain State Prison, when he was ambushed by a gunman near St Mary’s College.

The father of two was shot four times, once to the head, once to the neck and twice in his chest. He died on the scene.

His attacker then ran up Frederick Street and across Oxford Street.

Within days of the murder, homicide detectives released a sketch of Boodooram’s killer.

 

ORIGINAL STORY:

A man from east Port of Spain has been charged for the murder of prison officer Davendra Boodooram.

Andre Nicholas Lavia, also known as “Brandon Thomas” and “Wetman Andre” was charged with murdering Boodooram on January 26.

Lavia appeared in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court Friday afternoon.

Boodooram, 50, was driving along Frederick Street in Port of Spain after finishing his shift at the Port of Spain State Prison, when he was ambushed by a gunman near to St Mary’s College.

The father of two was shot four times- once to the head, once to the neck and twice in his chest.

He died on the scene.

His attacker than ran up Frederick Street, across Oxford Street and then towards Charford Courts in East Dry River.

Within days of the murder, homicide detectives released a sketch of Boodooram’s killer.

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