Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : April 17th 2014 Contents A8
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, April 17, 2014
Rennie Coolman, the widower of busi-
nesswoman Vindra Naipaul-Coolman, yes-
terday was forced to defend a barrage of
accusations that he was involved in his
wife s kidnapping and benefited from her
Coolman, a campus manager with the
University of T&T (UTT), returned to at
the Port-of-Spain Third Criminal Court for
a third straight day yesterday as the trial
against a dozen men charged with his wife's
From the time the trial commenced
around 9.30 am and Coolman took his seat
in the witness stand, defence attorney Wayne
Sturge immediately began to ask him a series
of questions on his alleged involvement in
the case as well as if he benefited financially
when she was eventually declared dead
months after being kidnapped from her
Lange Park, Chaguanas, home, on December
In refering to Coolman's reported delay
in calling the police, when he realised that
his wife had been kidnapped, Sturge said:
"Is it that you deliberately gave assailants
time to get away?"
Coolman: Not at all, there was no delib-
Sturge: Since you say there was no motive,
did you not profit from your wife's death
with the house in Canada?
Coolman: Not really.
Sturge: She was worth more to you dead
Coolman: Definitely not.
Sturge: It's obvious you benefitted from
your wife's disappearance?
Coolman: Quite the contrary.
Sturge then asked the value of the couple's
house in Canada, which Coolman revealed
they bought together a year before she was
Coolman said they bought the house for
Can$342,000 but claimed he did not profit
when it was sold after his wife's death as
it was purchased using a mortgage.
When asked about another property in
Trinidad, which he said he and Vindra had
intended to buy to use as their "love nest",
he said he completed that purchase using
his personal funds.
Sturge then shifted his focus to Coolman's
failure to intervene during the five-minute
exchange Naipaul-Coolman had with her
abductors before she was eventually shot
in her leg and taken away.
He refered to Coolman's earlier testimony
in the trial where he said his first reaction
to the incident was to pull his live-in house-
keeper, Rasheedan Yacoob, away from a
window which was in the sight of his wife's
Coolman denied his reaction was based
on his instincts but agreed with Sturge that
it was from "learned behaviour".
Sturge: But your learned behaviour told
you to do something to save someone else
but not to save your wife?
Coolman: Given the situation, I believe
I acted rationally at that point in time.
Sturge: Your instinct did not tell you to
do anything else in order to save your wife?
Coolman: It led me to the action I took,
to the position that if I approached the per-
son with the gun outside, it would be a sui-
cide mission, and it would be appropriate
for police to take appropriate action there-
Sturge also suggested to Coolman, that
he and his wife were going through martial
issues which led to him migrating to Canada
for a year before the kidnapping and that
he did not intervene when she was being
kidnapped because he was happy for her
to be out of his life.
"That is not correct," an adamant Cool-
Sturge also asked Coolman why he did
not intervene in the negotiations for his
wife's release, to which he again responded
that he was following the instructions of
Like his five colleagues who preceeded
him in cross-examining Coolman, Sturge
also devoted a portion of his questioning
to a $75,000 bribe Coolman paid to a woman
who promised to pay off prosecutors to
avoid him being prosecuted in the case.
Coolman said he paid the bribe because
he was told by friends and relatives, who
he could not identify, that he may be inno-
cently prosecuted for his wife's kidnapping.
He also admitted to discussing the issue
with officials of the Special Anti-Crime Unit
of T&T (Sautt) who were assigned to the
case, months before he even paid the bribe.
Sturge: What was your concern?
Coolman: My concern was that I would
be held in prison for a number of years and
the matter would not be raised for a number
However, he stated that he was not afraid
of being convicted if charged because he
knew he was innocent.
Yesterday's hearing ended with discussions
between attorneys over a recording of the
ransom calls made to Naipaul-Coolman's
brother ,Ryan, who was pretending to be
Coolman, being entered into evidence and
played in the trial.
There will be no hearing of the trial today,
as Justice Malcolm Holdip has reserved the
day to allow a juror to attend a work-related
Coolman will return to the witness stand
on April 28, after the Judiciary's Easter break,
which starts next week.
JENSEN LA VENDE
The Police Social and Welfare Association said
it found it strange that a man was able to get hold
of 36 cellphones and a quantity of marijuana on
Monday as he made his way back to the Remand
Prison, Golden Grove, Arouca.
According to prison reports, around 4 pm on
Monday inmates were returning to the facility from
court when the fire alarm was sounded.
The inmate in question was trying to sneak into
the prison with the drugs and cellphones but was
stopped by two prison officers and a scuffle ensued.
The officers were injured during the scuffle but
when he was subdued and his knapsack was
searched the illegal items were found.
In a telephone interview with the T&T Guardian
yesterday general secretary of the association Insp
Michael Seales said he was informed by his mem-
bership that all standard procedures were conducted
before the prisoners were handed over to prison
"I have spoken to my personnel and it is a bit
strange to us... such a large find. We have to review
what is happening there. Something is amiss. All
protocols were followed and we are not in the habit
of searching the vehicles," Seales said.
He added the vehicles transporting the prisoners
did not belong to the Police Service, and when the
men were placed in the vehicles they were not in
possession of any contraband.
On Tuesday general secretary of the Prison Offi-
cers Association Gerard Gordan called on the police
to take some responsibility for the find.
"They (police) have to take some licks. How is
it possible that this man had all this contraband?
It could have been a gun, what else could they have
brought?" Gordon said, adding the police must
Contacted yesterday Commissioner of Prisons
Conrad Barrow said his officers must continue to
be vigilant while searching men who were returning
He added that he received a report on the matter
and the inmate was attempting to smuggle 32 cell-
phones, 29 packs of cigarettes, 22 cellphone chargers
and headsets, six packs of wrapping paper, three
lighters and 200 grammes of marijuana.
He said the injured officers were given three days
Widow's husband under cross-examination:
She was not worth
more dead than alive
The dozen men before the jury and
Justice Malcolm Holdip are: Allan
"Scanny" Martin, twin brothers
Shervon and Devon Peters, siblings
Keida and Jamille Garcia and their older
brother Anthony Dwayne Gloster,
brothers Marlon and Earl
Trimmingham, Ronald Armstrong,
Antonio Charles, Joel Fraser 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.
Their legal team includes Ulric
Skerritt, Joseph Pantor, Selwyn
Mohammed, Lennox Sankersingh, Ian
Brooks, Wayne Sturge, Mario Merritt,
Richard Valere, Kwesi Bekoe, Colin
Selvon, Vince Charles, Christian
Chandler, Delicia Helwig and Alexia
Romero. The prosecution team
includes Senior Counsel Israel Khan,
Gilbert Peterson and Dana Seetahal,
who are being assisted by senior state
prosecutors Joy Balkaran and Kelly
WHO'S IN COURT
Cops: Don't blame
us for prison
Just as fire is needed till
the rice is cooked, you
need the spiritual practices
until you realize your
- VISUAL (Spectacles
& Contact Lens)
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8.2582 8.6928 9.1709
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* 2.5742 ****** 3.2792
for APRIL 16th 2014
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