ABU BAKR CONSPIRACY INQUIRY:
Confessions of a state witness
By FRANCIS JOSEPH, Newsday TT
BRENT MILLER, the Stateís star witness, shocked everyone with some startling confessions yesterday during cross-examination in the preliminary inquiry into a conspiracy to murder charge against Jamaat Al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr. Because of the restrictions to the media in reporting a preliminary inquiry, the "confessions" of this accomplice witness cannot be disclosed at this time. If, and when the case goes to the High Court, the evidence of the Sate witness will be revealed. His evidence will be more startling than other accomplice witnesses in the recent past such as Clint Huggins, Levi Morris, and Elliot Hypolite. Miller, 29, also called "Big Brent" and "Fatboy," of Ariapita Road, St Annís, spent most of the day being cross-examined by lead defence attorney Pamela Elder.
Bakr, 62, is before Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls in the Port-of-Spain Eighth Magistratesí Court charged with conspiring with David "Buffy" Maillard and others at Citrine Drive, Diamond Vale, Diego Martin, on June 4, 2003, to murder Salim Rasheed and Zaki Aubiah. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Carla Brown-Antoine and State attorney George Busby are prosecuting, while Owen Hinds Jr assists Elder. Hearing continues tomorrow. Unlike the previous hearing - September 29 - yesterday was virtually calm. The corner of St Vincent and Duke Streets was not blocked, although fully-armed members of the Police Guard and Emergency Branch (GEB) stood guard at that location. Two barriers were placed both north and south of the courtroom to prevent anyone from standing in that area. On the last occasion, Muslimeen members lined themselves in front of the court room and created chaos. This time, there was no such thing.
Members of the Judiciary Security Unit under Cyril Bernard turned out in full force and ensured that everyone remained behind the barriers. When this reporter attempted to enter the court room, a police inspector shouted loudly, "You are not to go in there". Realising the embarrassment created, an official of the Judiciary Security Unit intervened and said that members of the media should be allowed in the court room before the public. At that point, Deputy Commissioner Glen Roach showed up to ensure that everything was in place for the hearing and that there would be no "lockdown" like September 29. Even policemen, who were never heard before, strutted around with batons talking loudly. The Chief Magistrate entered the court room at 9.15 am and called the matter.
Elder said she wanted to place on the record that several items were disclosed to her by the prosecution. On the previous occasion, she complained the inquiry was about to start without the State giving her certain documents. Yesterday, Elder disclosed that on September 30, she had received a copy of the immunity granted to Miller. She also received a copy of the discontinuance with respect to charges against Miller. The document, dated September 9, stated that all charges against Miller were dropped. These included a charge of murdering Jilla Bowen at the Movie Towne Cineplex at Mucurapo on June 4; attempted murder, and possession of a firearm and ammunition. Elder also revealed that she had received a copy of the notes of an interview conducted with Bakr on August 21. She also got the names of the co-conspirators - Miller, Dwight, "Crock", "Skins", and Damien.
The defence attorney said that by a letter dated October 6, she received a document with the number of pending cases against Clive Lewis, also called Adil Ghany; particulars of pending cases of Brent Miller; and particulars of a conviction for Miller.
Brown-Antoine objected to what Elder had done, by placing these matters on the record. She said it was normal for the prosecution to hand over documents to the defence. She said there was no reason to publicly reveal what she had received. Elder said she decided to place it on the record in light of the protest she made on the last occasion when the inquiry was about to start without her having possession of certain documents. The Chief Magistrate said Elder had done the right thing. Miller was called to the witness stand, but before he could say a word, he was taken back out of court for legal arguments to take place. The State wanted certain evidence admitted, but the defence objected. Mc Nicolls ruled that the evidence was admissible.
Miller returned to the court and gave the evidence. Cross-examination eventually began at 11.18 am and continued until the hearing was adjourned at 3.40 pm. At 2.33 pm, Elder was cross-examining Miller, accusing him of telling untruths when a loud explosion was heard. It shook up everyone in court. Mc Nicolls looked startled and then smiled when he realised that it was only thunder. Even Elder got into the act. She told Miller "even the Gods feel you are telling untruths."
|NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 this material is distributed without profit or payment to those
who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml. If you wish to use copyrighted material
from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use you must obtain permission from the copyright owner. |