Prosecution seeking to tender dead Leon Fraser’s deposition

Guyana Chronicle
May 13, 2003

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THE Prosecution is now seeking to tender the deposition of dead Police Superintendent Leon Fraser in the multi-million-dollar robbery case at the Demerara Assizes.

But the application, by State Prosecutor Simone Morris, sparked another voir dire (trial within a trial), which Justice Winston Moore will continue today.

Defence Counsel Hookumchand, who objected to the admissibility of the attestation by Fraser, said he had been taken by surprise and the judge is to hear more on the issue, in the presence of the jury, on the resumption.

Meanwhile, Justice Moore yesterday directed that the name and other particulars of another previously reluctant witness be withheld, after the individual, for whom a search had been launched, attended Court and requested the protection.

The man testifying yesterday was the second such witness, following a woman who had also succeeded in securing anonymity.

In his testimony, the witness disclosed that the accused, Clyde Atwell had sought his permission for four men to use his yard as a shortcut to a cane field.

The witness, who was detained after his home was searched by the Target Special Squad that Fraser then headed, said the taxi driver on trial had promised him some money he expected to collect from the men who went into the cane field.

The man, deported from the United States (U.S.) after serving a prison sentences there for possession of unlicensed firearm and armed robbery, said, on Wednesday, September 22, 1999, at about 10.30 am, he was asleep when he was awakened by a relative who told him that Atwell was at the gate.

Witness said Atwell, whom he knew well, asked him to let the quartet pass through his premises, one of them carrying the fourth on his back.

Atwell told him, when the men emerged from the cane field, he would get some money and give him some of it, the man said.

The witness said Police contacted him at his workplace on Friday, November 24 and enquired of Atwell and he took the cops to where the accused lived. They found Atwell washing his car and arrested him.

The witness, who returned to Guyana in 1995, said the accused used to visit his home from time to time.

The witness said he, too, was a suspect in the robbery and spent four days in Police custody, during which time he was questioned and gave a statement.

Witness said after he learnt that Fraser and his men had visited and searched his home, he contacted his lawyer and voluntarily went to (Criminal Investigations Department Headquarters) Eve Leary.

Asked why he thought it necessary to go to the Police station when he was not invited, witness declared:“When one hears that the ‘Black Clothes’ had gone to your home, it is time to get worried and get a lawyer.”

“You thought that you would have been hurt by the ‘Black Clothes?’ Hookumchand asked and the witness said:“Most obviously.”

The witness said his uncle was suspected of the crime, as well, but not his reputed wife.

Atwell is the sole survivor indicted for the multi-million-dollar heist at a Regent Street, Georgetown cambio, where Robert Haniff and Lachman Mohabeer were robbed and policeman Ewart Hutson alias ‘Toots’ was shot and wounded.

The other two men, who were also charged with the offence, Toyin Anderson and Andrew Douglas have since been shot dead in different circumstances.

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