Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : January 21st 2016 Contents A9
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The ten men still on trial for the murder of busi-
nesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman have all cho-
sen not to testify in their own defence.
During a hearing in the Port-of-Spain High Court
yesterday, each of the accused men individually
informed presiding Judge Malcolm Holdip they did
not wish to take the witness stand to respond to the
case presented against them by State prosecutors.
Only one of the men, Keida Garcia, indicated he
wanted to call a witness to testify in his defence,
another option made available to them after the State
closed its case last November.
After Garcia s witness, who was not identified yes-
terday, testifies before the 12-member jury and three
alternates next Monday, prosecutors will be given an
opportunity to cross-examine him.
Defence attorneys representing the accused men
will then have to decide if the wish to deliver a closing
address to the jury, before Holdip sums up the case
to them and allows them to deliberate over their
clients innocence or guilt.
Prosecutors will only be able to present their own
closing address only if the accused men elect to utilise
their option. Naipaul-Coolman was abducted from
her home at Radix Road, Lange Park, Chaguanas, on
December 19, 2006. A $122,000 ransom was paid
by her family but she was not released
and her body has never been found.
Since the trial began in March 2014,
prosecutors have claimed that the for-
mer Xtra Foods chief executive was
held captive at a house in Upper La
Puerta, Diego Martin, before she was
eventually executed and her body dis-
The evidence presented during the
trial included circumstantial evidence
recovered at the men s homes in the
community and an illegal gun that was
found at the home of one of the accused
men that was allegedly linked to spent
shells found on the scene of the busi-
nesswoman s kidnapping.
Prosecutors are relying on the sworn
statements of their main witness, Keon
Gloster, who allegedly witnessed the
murder but did not participate. How-
ever, Gloster has repeatedly claimed he
was coerced by police into implicating
the accused men, most of whom are
his relatives. Gloster was deemed a
hostile witness and his statements were
tendered into evidence and read to the
Last Friday, Holdip upheld a no-case
submission for another accused Joel
Fraser, whose attorneys claimed there
was no evidence presented by the State
linking their client to the crime and
Fraser walked free.
A High Court judge yesterday agreed to substitute
a claimant in a lawsuit against the State after the
original claimant died.
High Court Judge Ronnie Boodoosingh yesterday
dismissed an application from attorneys from the
Office of the Attorney General to have the case struck
out because Ronald James attorneys had failed to
inform the court that he had died shortly after it was
filed in 2013.
As part of his ruling Boodoosingh granted attorney
Gerald Ramdeen permission to find a substitute
claimant, possibly one of James relatives, to represent
his interest in the case.
In the event that the false imprisonment case is
eventually successful, any compensation awarded will
be handed over to James estate, which is yet to be
Ramdeen s alleged failure to inform the court of
James death made headlines last year when State
attorney Randall Hector applied to have the matter
Speaking in Parliament in October last year, Minister
in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal
Affairs Stuart Young said he had requested a report
from State attorneys on the issue.
James retained Ramdeen in September 2013 after
he was arrested by police earlier that year and was
held for five-and-a-half hours at the Four Roads Police
Station before being released without being charged.
One month later, James was murdered near his
Diego Martin home.
Responding to the application to have the case dis-
missed, Ramdeen claimed that he did not have com-
munication with James after he was retained for the
case and that he only learned of his death after the
issue was raised by State attorneys.
Boodoosingh is expected to hold a case management
conference next month when he will give instructions
for the filing of evidence and submission and will set
a date for the trial of the case.
WHO'S IN COURT
10 accused opt to stay silent Judge substitutes
A total of 12 men went on trial before
the jury and Justice Malcolm Holdip
charged for the crime in March 2014.
They are twin brothers Shervon and
Devon Peters, and their older brother
Anthony Dwayne Gloster, siblings Keida
and Jamille Garcia, brothers Marlon and
Earl Trimmingham, Ronald Armstrong,
Antonio Charles and Lyndon James.
A 13th man, Raphael Williams, was
charged with the crime but died in prison
in 2011 of complications from sickle-cell
anaemia. Allan "Scanny" Martin was on
trial for the majority of the case before
he was shot dead by police after staging
a daring prison break from the Port-of-
Spain State Prison in July last year. Joel
Fraser was freed after the judge found
there was insufficient evidence to refer
his case to the jury.
Their team includes Ulric Skerritt,
Joseph Pantor, Selwyn Mohammed,
Lennox Sankersingh, Ian Brooks, Wayne
Sturge, Mario Merritt, Richard Valere,
Colin Selvon, Vince Charles, Christian
Chandler, Delicia Helwig and Alexia
Romero. The prosecution includes Senior
Counsel Israel Khan and Gilbert Peterson,
assisted by senior state prosecutors Joy
Balkaran and Kelly Thompson.
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