BICHE farmer Steven Samaroo on Tuesday denied chopping his fellow villager in 2005, but instead suggested that the man was chopped by another villager who was attacking him.
“He fall in the way of the cutlass,” Samaroo said as he took the witness stand to give evidence at his trial,
He is accused of chopping Visham Ramoutar in the early hours of August 7, 2005.
Samaroo, of 7 3/4 mile mark, Plum Mitan, Biche, is before Justice Gillian Lucky and a nine-member jury at the Port of Spain High Court. His trial is the first for the fast-track court and will end today, when the jury deliberates on its verdict.
Yesterday, the prosecution and defence completed their closing addresses to the jury.
Previously charged with attempted murder and wounding with intent, Samaroo is now only on an indictment for the wounding charge, as it was amended by the judge.
In his testimony, Samaroo spoke of the chopping incident, which took place outside a wedding reception everyone attended, except him, although he was invited to sing at the event. He was there to help two friends by taking them to the Tunapuna market to sell their cascadura and conch. He also gave Ramoutar, his mother and his alleged attacker a drop to the wedding.
He said two villagers were arguing and cursing each other when one of them, Rishi Sudama, ran up to him and asked about money Sudama owed to Samaroo.
He said he could not answer that and Samaroo pushed him into the drain.
After pelting the man with a bottle to ward him off, Samaroo said, he was hit with a scotch bottle on the head, and the two men and two others began to cuff and kick him.
Sudama, he said, ran for a cutlass, broke his car’s headlight with a big stone and began exclaiming: “I will kill Powers and them. I will mash up this car.”
Samaroo said he told his attackers he had done nothing to them, while trying to hold on to the cutlass in Sudama’s hand.
He said Ramoutar came out of nowhere and began holding him down, while telling Sudama, who still had the cutlass aimed at Samaroo, to hit him with a big stone and hit him some “chops.”
“I told him, ‘I now bring allyuh here and allyuh want to beat me?’” Samaroo said.
He said he continued to struggle with Sudama and the cutlass and while thinking about his one-year-old child, he managed to let go of the weapon and pull away.
“Visham fall on the ground and say: ‘Oh God, boy.’ I say I eh have no cutlass. I get away and he fall in the way of the cutlass.”
He denied having a cutlass in his car. “The only man who had a cutlass was Sudama. It is not true I fired a chop at Ramoutar.”
“I never cut he. I never hold no cutlass.”
Samaroo said he ran down the hill for his life when he saw the flashing lights of a police vehicle.
He said when the police met him by the shop, PC Nieves told him: “Powers I hear you chop somebody,” and he replied he never chopped anyone.
He also insisted that the testimony the policeman gave at the trial was not true, that he did not run nor did he give up the cutlass.
Also at Tuesday’s hearing, the deposition of PC Ramsaran Jagroop, who interviewed Samaroo and Ramoutar, was read into evidence. An application was made by the prosecution since the policeman recently had a heart attack and is hospitalised, so was unable to come to court to testify.
State attorney Joy Balkaran is prosecuting while defence attorney Fulton Wilson is representing Samaroo.