WEDNESDAY’S temporary gag on the media reporting of the Sean Luke trial has been amended.
While the media is still restricted from reporting any part of the evidence of Avinash Baboolal, the State’s main witness, while he is giving evidence, the temporary gag ends when his testimony and that of another civilian witness, Avis Pradeep, come to an end.
“It is not a prohibition on reporting. It is delayed reporting,” the judge said as she amended her previous order, warning, however, should the media publish any of the evidence of either man before Pradeep completes his testimony, they will run the risk of contempt proceedings being constituted.
She referred to authorities from New Zealand and the Privy Council decision on the local case of the now defunct Mirror newspaper and two of its journalists.
No reason has been given for the restriction on the reporting of either man’s evidence.
Baboolal, the 16th witness on the fifth day of the trial, began his testimony on Wednesday and is expected to continue it on Monday.
His cross-examination by the attorneys for Akeel Mitchell and Richard Chatoo, who are charged with Luke’s murder on a date unknown between March 25 and 29, 2006, continued on Friday.
Baboolal’s name has featured heavily in the cross-examination of previous witnesses at the trial by lawyers for Mitchell and Chatoo.
Baboolal was 17 at the time of the murder. Pradeep was another teenager in the village.
Luke’s body was found on March 28, in a bushy area in the cane field close to his home. An autopsy revealed that he died from internal injuries arising from being sodomised with a cane stalk.
Mitchell and Chatoo have opted for a judge-only trial.
They are represented by attorneys Mario Merritt, Evans Welch, Kirby Joseph, Randall Raphael, Kelston Pope and Gabriel Hernandez.
Prosecuting are state attorneys Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal, Anju Bhola and Sophia Sandy-Smith.