Juror remanded for perjury
Stabroek News
December 11, 2001

Minutes after a five-member jury was empanelled by acting Chief Magistrate, Juliet Holder-Allen, to commence the Coroner's Inquest into the Mandela Avenue shooting, one of the jurors, Saheed Hoosein, pulled out after taking the oath and was remanded to prison by the magistrate for perjury.

Hoosein, who was present at all of the preceding sessions, said he was a close friend of one of the witnesses--a police officer. He informed the court's orderly that he knew the officer and he did not feel comfortable presiding as a juror in the case.

Defence counsel, Basil Williams, who is representing Claudette Schultz, mother of one of the men who were gunned down by the police, contended that Hoosein had wasted the court's time and insulted the competence of the magistrate and the judicial system.

He asserted that valuable time had been "lost ever since the inquest was put off on several occasions and to reach this far by empanelling the jury, and then at the onset of the magistrate calling the first witness, somebody is going to step down, it is a disrespect to the law."

Williams indicated that he felt Hoosein's decision to step down was a deliberate effort to delay the inquest. He noted that he had ample time to withdraw before, but waited until everything was set to make his move.

The magistrate who was also upset by Hoosein's conduct, concurred that he had sufficient time to decline before, since she had asked the entire jury on several occasions whether they had any objections so they could have stepped down. She maintained that she was prepared to work with five jurors and adjourned the proceedings until Thursday.

Earlier a seven-member jury was empanelled but Schultz challenged three of the jurors, alleging that she had seen them conversing with police officers prior to the inquest. The case was called on three other occasions but adjourned.

Yesterday three police officers and one civilian were present as witnesses. Williams informed the magistrate that he had other witnesses and was going to present them as soon as the court was ready.

Attorney-at-law, Vic Puran, who is representing the interest of the police was absent but the other parties involved in the inquest were present. The prosecutor is Police Inspector, Gordon Peters.

Antoine Houston, Steve Grant and John Bruce were killed under disputable circumstances on July 29 this year by members of the Target Special Squad of the Guyana Police Force. The police had claimed that the men had opened fire on them and they retaliated, but according to other reports the men were shot at point blank range.