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Tuesday, May 6, 2014 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
for 02nd MAY, 2014
The shocking and violent murder of
prominent attorney Dana Seetahal, SC,
has sent such shockwaves throughout the
legal and judicial fraternity that many
attorneys are now reeling with fear and
In fact the situation was so tense in the
legal fraternity yesterday that the Vindra
Naipaul-Coolman murder trial had to be
postponed for a week as all those involved
in it and other lawyers throughout the coun-
try could not carry on their business as
usual and two organisations she was once
part of during her distinguished career met
to discuss the impact of her killing on the
Hours earlier, security outside the Port-
of-Spain High Court was increased ahead
of the start of the Naipaul-Coolman case,
the last official state duty Seetahal conducted
before her killing.
But High Court Judge Malcolm Holdip
opted to adjourn the trial for a week to allow
attorneys involved an opportunity to grieve
and the office of the Director of Public Pros-
ecutions (DPP) time to decide how it will pro-
ceed with the case. (See Pages A5, A6
Security at the Port-of-Spain High Court
was almost double its normal strength yes-
terday, with heavily armed police officers
being stationed at strategic locations around
the Hall of Justice, while their colleagues
and their security officer counterparts kept
watch outside the courtroom.
Senior Counsel Israel Khan and Gilbert
Peterson, the two other senior lawyers mak-
ing up the three-member special prosecution
team for the high profile trial, were both
escorted to and from the court by plain-
clothed police officers.
The joint meeting of the Law Association,
which Seetahal led during her career, and
the Criminal Bar Association was held at
the Law Association s office at Abercromby
Street, Port-of Spain, yesterday.
In a news release issued after, the asso-
ciations presidents---Seenath Jairam, SC,
and Pamela Elder, SC---both sought to alle-
viate the security fears of their members,
while encouraging them to continue to work
"fearlessly" in the execution of their duties.
"We must not be daunted by the cir-
cumstances of the demise of Dana Seetahal,
SC, but rather, continue her legacy of inde-
pendence, courage, and formidable advo-
cacy," the release said.
The organisation also encouraged its
members and the public to assist and sup-
port the T&T Police Service in the its con-
tinued investigation into the murder.
"We jointly express our horror at the law-
lessness and violence which continues to
plague our society but remain resolute in
our determination to ensure the implemen-
tation of measures to curb the scourge of
crime," the release said.
No motive established
Yesterday evening, as Prime Minister
Kamla Persad-Bissessar announced an
increase in the reward for information and
prosecution in the case to $2.5 million, senior
police sources said they had not established
a clear motive for Seetahal s murder and
were still keeping an open mind and explor-
ing "all possibilities."
Among the motives being considered by
investigators is the obvious link to the
Naipaul-Coolman trial, as well as a theory
that it was orchestrated by a convicted pris-
oner who was prosecuted in the past by
According to reports, shortly before mid-
night Saturday, Seetahal left the Ma Pau
casino car park at French Street, Woodbrook,
on her way to her apartment at One Wood-
About ten minutes later, as she was near
to the Woodbrook Youth Facility, O Connor
Street, she was ambushed by a group of
gunmen who shot her five times through
the window of her light blue Volkswagen
Sources said the special investigation
team, assembled by acting Police Commis-
sioner Stephen Williams and led by the
head of the Homicide Bureau ACP Wayne
Dick, have already obtained CCTV footage
from the casino, along the route Seetahal
used, as well as from businesses along the
route and near to the scene of the shooting.
The video footage, police said, would aid
in identifying the vehicles used by Seetahal s
attackers as well as some of their features
...as Dana's killing sinks in
JENSEN LA VENDE
Prominent Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal
was shot at close range with a small calibre
handgun and not a high-powered rifle as was
previously reported, her autopsy revealed yes-
According to well-placed police sources close
to the investigation, Seetahal was shot five times
by her assailants.
According to the sources, Seetahal was shot
twice in the right side of her head, twice in the
right forearm and once in the chest. Her killer/s
was so close to her that gun powder residue was
found on her clothing.
Seetahal was shot first in the arm as she
attempted to protect herself from the bullets by
raising it to block her face.
Contacted last evening, lead investigator in the
matter, ACP Wayne Dick, told the T&T Guardian
he would meet again with his men today and
had "nothing new" to add.
Asked about the disparity in the type of ammu-
nition initially reported to the media by the police,
Dick said he never gave any information about
the calibre of ammunition, as that would have
meant he would have been on the crime scene
and contaminated it, which as head of the Homi-
cide Bureau he would never do.
It was widely reported throughout the media
yesterday that 5.56 ammunition was used in the
precision attack. That information was provided
by officers who responded to the scene Sunday
But inside sources said yesterday such ammu-
nition could not have been used given the con-
dition of Seetahal s body. High-powered rifles
would have blown away chunks of flesh from
the former magistrate s face, they said.
However, Seetahal s face was not badly damaged
according to descriptions given by those who
saw the body after the killing.
According to reports, shortly before midnight
Saturday, Seetahal left the Ma Pau casino car
park on French Street, Port-of-Spain, before
driving onto Wrightson Road and later turning
north onto Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook.
Police said as she approached the Woodbrook
Youth Facility, she was blocked by two vehicles,
whose occupants came out and shot her.
Dana shot 5 times
with a 'small gun'
Defence attorney Wayne Sturge and his
team head into the Hall of Justice
yesterday before the resumption of the
Vindra Naipaul-Coolman murder trial. The
Judge eventually postponed the matter as
attorneys were too distraught over the
weekend killing of colleague Dana Seetahal,
SC, a member of the prosecution team, to
conduct business. PHOTO: SHIRLEY BAHADUR
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