Jermaine Wilkinson killing PI depositions forwarded to DPP
Registry sends copies, search yields zilch
Stabroek News
March 21, 2004

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After almost eight years, depositions from the Prelim-inary Inquiry into the manslaughter charges against Jermaine Wilkinson's alleged killer have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecu-tions (DPP).

Although the Supreme Court Registry was unable to find the original depositions after nearly three months of searching, the duplicates were certified this week and were then forwarded to the DPP, who is responsible for initiating trial proceedings.

Chancellor of the Judiciary Desiree Bernard told Stabroek News that the decision to use the duplicates was taken by the registry after the original depositions could not be found. The search for the depositions began in January, when Chancellor Bernard asked the registry to explain why they had not reached the DPP.

Ex-policeman Robert Beresford was committed to stand trial for Wilkinson's death in 1996, but he has been free on bail since that time awaiting the start of the proceedings.

Beresford fatally shot Wilkinson in Albouystown on May 22, 1996, while he was still a constable attached to the Police Impact Patrol.

He was charged two days later with manslaughter but was released on $40,000 bail, pending the outcome of the Preliminary Inquiry into the charges.

Beresford was committed to stand trial for murder at the end of the proceedings after the then acting chief magistrate, K. Juman-Yassin, found there was enough evidence to support the charge. The committal order was however challenged and quashed by a High Court judge who set bail at $150,000, pending the start of the trial.

But trial never began because the depositions were never seen by the DPP.

At the end of last year, Stabroek News learnt that the original depositions were sent to the Supreme Court on September 19, 1996, after the committal order was challenged. Only duplicates of the depositions were returned to the registry on February 13 the next year.