THE second man charged with the 2006 murder of six-year-old Sean Luke has maintained his innocence.
Richard Chatoo has challenged the allegations against him, saying it is fabricated.
Chatoo’s defence statement was read out in open court on Monday when the trial resumed.
In addition to claiming the allegations against him were fabricated, he also maintained that statements police took from him were adduced as a result of oppression, trickery, force and inducement.
He maintained he was not admitting anything.
After reading out the statement, Chatoo was asked to confirm it contents and identify his signature.
In March, the defence statement of his co-accused, Akeel Mitchell, was also read out in open court by Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds, who is presiding over the men’s judge-only trial.
In it, Mitchell denied being at the scene of the crime in March 2006. Instead, he gave an alibi for his whereabouts at the time.
When both men were arraigned in February, they pleaded not guilty.
Mitchell and Chatoo were both teenagers when they allegedly murdered Luke in a cane field not far from where he lived in Orange Valley, Couva.
At Monday’s session, the prosecution’s main witness, Avinash Baboolal, completed his testimony, making way for the 17th witness in the trial, Arvis Pradeep. Both lived in the village.
The evidence of both men cannot be reported at this time because of a temporary gag on media reporting, which ends when Pradeep completes his testimony.
At Friday’s hearing, Ramsumair-Hinds said it was not a prohibition on reporting, but was delayed reporting. She warned should the media publish any of the evidence of either man before Pradeep completes his testimony, they will run the risk of contempt-of-court proceedings.
Pradeep returns on Wednesday to complete his evidence. He completed his evidence-in-chief and will be cross-examined by Mitchell’s legal team when he returns.
Luke’s body was found on March 28, 2006, in a cane field close to his home. An autopsy revealed 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.