Defence likens evidence to jigsaw puzzle

Stabroek News
October 20, 2000

The evidence led by the prosecution's witnesses is a story concocted by Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) officer, Oral Stoby, from a jigsaw puzzle, attorney-at-law Vic Puran submitted yesterday.

Puran made submissions before Chief Magistrate, Paul Fung-A-Fat, on behalf of his clients, Albert Vaughn and Morris Darr, the two remaining defendants in the car-chase cocaine trial.

CANU placed the two along with Trenton Allicock before the court to answer a charge of trafficking after they were allegedly nabbed with 4.7508 kilogrammes of cocaine following a car-chase through the city on August 11. However, last Friday Allicock, 41, was sent to jail for four years after he claimed all the drugs.

In his submissions, Puran said that it was crucial that the magistrate decide if he believed Jeremy Mbozi and Andrew Pierre-- the two CANU officers who conducted the surveillance of Lot 3 McDoom where Darr allegedly handed over the bag containing the cocaine to Vaughn.

However, he was quick to request that the officers' statements not be taken into consideration because they were inconsistent and the parties involved denied all the allegations made against them. In support of his petition, he pointed out that the sworn statements contradicted each other.

This major blunder occurred, Puran opined, because the officers' humanity overrode their ability to lie. For those reasons, he is convinced that no surveillance took place on August 11.

Questioning why two armed law enforcement officers concerned about the movement of drugs did not apprehend his clients even though they admitted they had the opportunity to do so, Puran said the statements given to the court nullify each other since they could not all be true.

He said although CANU has presented its case as one of recognition, the officers failed to make the circumstances of observation clear. However, should he stretch things a little and assume the surveillance occurred, judicial experience has shown that honest witnesses could be mistaken, Puran argued.

Contending that assertions about oral confessions were easy to make yet difficult to rebut, the lawyer asked why the defendants did not opt to put their confession in writing.

Puran opined that Stoby created the story to implicate others because he landed himself in a jigsaw puzzle when he caught Allicock. He concluded that the evidence led by the prosecution could only serve to leave the court in "judicial unease".

Special Prosecutor, James Bovell-Drakes, will make his address when the court reconvenes today.

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