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Senior Police Officer accuses Magistrate of making mistake

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As defence counsel in the Peter “Kazaman” Joseph murder trial continue to hammer questions at the prosecution’s witnesses, one senior police officer has accused former Chief Magistrate Simone Churaman of making a mistake in the statement he gave at the Serious Offences Court on September 20, 2005.{{more}}

Station Sergeant Trevor “Buju” Bailey stated at the High Court on Tuesday that he had told Churaman that the gun allegedly used in Joseph’s murder was handed over to him on February 17, 2005 instead of December 17, 2004 as was written in the statement. The notes from the statement given at the Preliminary Inquiry were read back to Bailey in court and gave the date that the gun was handed over to him by one of the investigating officers as December 17, 2004. The 18-year veteran police officer was however adamant that he had given the Chief Magistrate the date as February 17, 2005.

“Your Lord, I didn’t say December 17, 2004. This has to be a mistake by the Magistrate, I did not tell her that,” Bailey reiterated. As part of a magistrate’s duty, any person giving evidence at a Preliminary Inquiry is allowed to alter or add anything to their evidence in chief and under cross-examination after it has been read back to them.

Presiding Judge Frederick Bruce-Lyle appeared upset by Bailey’s accusations and stated that he (Bailey) has a right to stop the magistrate at any time if something does not sound correct in evidence given. Bruce-Lyle said he doubted that the Magistrate would make such mistake. “I don’t think it’s right to blame the Magistrate for this and I’m not going to sit here and hear you talk like that about a Magistrate,” the judge firmly said.

Bailey responded by saying that Churaman reads her notes back very quickly.

That same gun was again the centre of attention when Bailey was cross-examined by Stephen Williams, counsel for Sheldon Bain, one of the accused. Bailey said he had locked away the Military Armament Corporation Model 11 (MAC-11) gun in a safe at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) but couldn’t recall if he took the gun over to the Deputy Commissioner’s Office.

Williams said that since Bailey was involved in the investigations and locked away the gun, that it was vital for him to know who took it to the office of the Deputy Commissioner. “A gun that is prohibited in this country, wouldn’t you know who took it to the deputy’s office?” Williams added that the gun could have been tampered with since Bailey didn’t know who had moved the weapon.

Webster Woodley, Michael Samuel and Grenadian Sheldon Bain stand accused of the murder of Joseph, which took place on November 30, 2004 at Cane Hall. Joseph’s body was found not too far from his taxi with eight gunshot wounds about his body.

The matter continues at the High Court. (KW)