Defence gets another week in Dana Seetahal murder inquiry

MURDERED: Dana Seetahal, gunned down in 2014. -
MURDERED: Dana Seetahal, gunned down in 2014. -

THE DEFENCE has been given an additional week to prepare their response to the prosecution’s reply to their no-case submission in the Dana Seetahal murder inquiry.

Attorneys representing the ten men charged with the late independent senator’s murder were expected to present their submissions on Friday.

However, when the matter was called, Senior Magistrate Indrani Cedeno indicated that the defence had sent a letter asking for a one-week adjournment.

Lead prosecutor Gilbert Peterson, SC, said although the letter did not give any grounds for the request, “in overall fairness,” the prosecution was not objecting to the adjournment.

Defence attorney Mario Merritt, who represents some of the men, said he was asking for one week “to put everything together” as he did not finish his response.

He also quipped that he was putting together his Best Village team. Last Friday, the State’s response to the no-case submissions was contained in a video presentation of evidence it is relying on in its prosecution of the ten men.

The defence is to file and serve its response before July 2, and the matter has been adjourned to July 3.

Last Friday’s video presentation was narrated by Assistant DPP George Busby who went through evidence against the men and how each accused was linked to the murder. The week before, Busby made oral submissions on the law with the aid of speaking notes which was shared on screen for the court and the defence to follow.

Busby’s video presentation lasted three hours and at the end of it, he said the defence’s no-case submission should be overturned. He also advised that all evidence in his video presentation was obtained from evidence led during the preliminary inquiry which began in 2015.

Before the court are Rajaee Ali, Devaughn Cummings, Ishmael Ali, Ricardo Stewart, Earl Richards, Gareth Wiseman, Hamid Ali, Kevin Parkinson, Leston Gonzales, Roget Boucher. Stephan Cummings was discharged of Seetahal’s murder in December 2017, after the DPP exercised powers under section 90(c) of the Constitution and discontinued proceedings.

Instead, Cummings was charged with conspiracy to murder and turned state's witness against his brother and the others. Seetahal was shot dead on May 4, 2014 in Woodbrook as she made her way home.

Also representing the prosecution are Elaine Greene and Andrea Johnson while defence attorneys Karunaa Bisramsingh, Roshan Tota-Maharaj and Randal Raphael are also part of the defence team.

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