False testimony exposed in court, man acquitted of 2006 murder

AFTER spending more than a decade on remand, a Beetham Gardens man was on Thursday acquitted of the charge of murdering a neighbor in 2006.

Kevin Phillip, 32, was before Justice Kathy-Ann Waterman-Latchoo in a judge-alone virtual trial for the murder of 30-year-old Antonio Bynoe at Main Street in Beetham Gardens on March 14, 2006.

On Thursday, Phillip was found not-guilty by the judge.

The prosecution’s case against Phillip, who was a minor when Bynoe was killed, was based mainly on the evidence of another resident, Glenroy Thomas, who allegedly witnessed the crime.

Phillip’s attorney Selwyn Mohammed accused Thomas of visiting his client in jail and suggested he apologised for implicating him in the murder while admitting he fabricated the statement he gave to police.

In his evidence, Thomas at first denied the claims and said he saw Phillip while visiting a friend in prison but they did not speak to each other.

A day after giving evidence at the trial, Thomas swore to a statutory declaration in which he admitted that Phillip's claims were actually true and that he identified him based on rumors he heard in the community after Bynoe's death.

Thomas was then deemed a hostile witness after Mohammed tendered the document into evidence.

At the end of the prosecution’s case, Waterman-Latchoo overruled a no-case submission made by Mohammed that the evidence against Phillip was manifestly unreliable.

Phillip chose not to testify in his defence and Waterman-Latchoo gave her ruling, acquitting him of the murder.

The trial began in late March but was pushed back because of the coronavirus pandemic and the rules of the court which limited access to court buildings and led to remote trials.

Phillip’s trial took place virtually after the prosecution and defence agreed to use video conferencing technology.

Phillip was also represented by Susan Kalipersad while the State was represented by prosecutor Hema Sundarsingh.

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