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Barrouallie man convicted utilising video technology

Barrouallie man convicted utilising video technology


The first jury trial utilising the video technology permitted by the Interviewing of Suspects for Serious Crimes Act, (No: 4 of 2012), ended at the High Court in Kingstown on December 16, with the conviction of Brenon Roberts of Barrouallie.{{more}}

Roberts, 40, was found guilty of attempted murder and breach of a Court Order. The charges arose from an incident on April 22, 2013, when his former common law wife, with whom he had a child, was attacked at Larley Road in Barrouallie around 9 p.m. and chopped several times on her head, arm and back. The woman had earlier obtained a Protection Order from the Family Court against Roberts, who had previously wounded her.

Justice Kathy Ann Latchoo has adjourned the sentencing of Roberts to January 28, 2015.

Under the Interviewing of Suspects for Serious Crimes Act, the police are mandated to do electronic interviews of people who are being investigated for specified serious offences. The intention is that these video recorded interviews will be played in Court to the jury, enabling jurors to see and hear what the suspect had to say when questioned by the police.

The video interview with Roberts was played in Court for the jury on December 11, just before the close of the prosecution’s case.

“The introduction of the video recording of interviews with suspects in St Vincent and the Grenadines was a step taken to enhance the administration of justice and to minimise the challenge to the admissibility of confessions made by suspects to the police. Jurors are able to observe for themselves the conduct of both the police and suspects during the interviews.

There have been other cases reaching the High Court involving people whose interviews were video recorded; but all such matters previously ended with change of pleas before the electronic interview was played, denying the jury the opportunity to see and hear the electronic interviews,” a release from the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said.

At the Magistrate’s Court, two people who were interviewed on camera by the police have already been convicted; they are Lisa Hooper for liquid cocaine trafficking and Alaskie ‘Beaver’ Samuel for firearm offences.

“The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions is quite pleased with the implementation and application of the technology to the criminal trial process. All those who contributed in one way or another to the strengthening of the justice system ought to be applauded.

The introduction of the legislation, as well as the training of the police officers in conducting the interviews, the provision of interviewing suites at various police stations and the equipping of various court rooms to permit the playing of the interviews were made possible through the former criminal justice advisor to the Eastern Caribbean, Dan Suter, a project funded jointly by the British High Commission and the Embassy of the United States of America to the Eastern Caribbean,” the release said.