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Joseph murder trial coming to a close

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The Peter Joseph murder case is slowly coming to its end at the High Court. On Wednesday, November 12, the prosecution led by Duane Daniel closed their case after producing 12 witnesses in the matter where Webster Woodley, Grenadian Sheldon Bain and Michael Samuel stand accused for Joseph’s murder of November 30, 2004, at Cane Hall.{{more}}

The defence team, consisting of Kay Bacchus-Browne, Nicole Sylvester and Stephen Williams should have taken a certain course of action yesterday, which they indicated they would the day before.

Earlier this week, counsel for the three accused men accused Corporal Dexter Hunte of tampering with a statement given by Rinella Clarke on December 12, 2004. The Lawyers stated that the original statement and a photocopied one did not correspond with each other. It was brought to the court’s attention by the defence that no permission was given by the witness to add anything else to the statement and that Hunte only added words to the statement after instructions by a senior officer. Hunte, an officer of 17 years experience, said he could not recall where the extra words to Clarke’s statement were added. He went on to say that he could not explain how the statements did not correspond. “Your honour, I really can’t explain how the added words were only on the photocopy of the statement,” Hunte said, with a confused look on his face. Hunte further added that he was confused as to how Clarke’s signature got on the photocopied statement.

Lawyer Bacchus-Browne said the alteration of the statement was only made in the latter part of 2007 and that Hunte was lying to the court. Officer Hunte had also admitted to not including certain things in his statement because he was informed by a senior police officer not to. He said that the gun allegedly used in the incident that he took to Barbados was not included in his statement in April 2005 and neither was the two live rounds of ammunition received from Station Sergeant Trevor Bailey.

Meanwhile, investigating officer Corporal Verrol Messiah admitted to the court that he did not follow proper police procedure during parts of his investigations. The officer of 19 years experience at the time of the murder, said in his evidence in chief, that he had recorded a statement from accused Woodley on May 10, 2005 and continued it on August 10, 2005.

However, that was never indicated in his statement. Messiah told the court that he had not completed the statement on May 10 because more investigations into the matter were being carried out.

At this time presiding judge Frederick Bruce-Lyle told Messiah that it is proper police procedure to write a new statement in the case when something else develops. “Why didn’t you do this?” asked Bruce-Lyle. Messiah replied, “My Lord I thought I could have continued my Lord. I should have started on a different form.”

Messiah further added that when he had questioned Woodley about Joseph’s murder, he (Woodley) told him (Messiah) that he was at home with his baby’s mother. (KW)