Morris tells jury:
Seeromani wanted Chandra dead
By SUSAN MOHAMMED
THE STATE’s main witness — Junior Morris — told a judge and jury in the High Court yesterday that accused Seeromani Maraj-Naraynsingh and "an East Indian man" told him and his brother Ken Morris that they wanted Dr Chandra Naraynsingh dead.
Morris said he was present at the meeting when the hit was called on Chandra and a price of $100,000 was negotiated to kill her. Morris said he was the driver of a car in which he and his brother, Ken Morris, met with accused Maraj-Naraynsingh and an East Indian man. The meeting took place at Gulf City carpark. Morris told Justice Herbert Volney and a 12-member jury in the San Fernando High Court yesterday that Maraj-Naraynsingh and the East Indian man gave instructions to "eliminate" Chandra. Chandra was the former wife of Prof Vijay Naraynsingh, who was gunned down 13 years ago at the Langmore Health Foundation. Maraj-Naraynsingh, the professor’s current wife, and San Fernando businessman Elton Ramasir, are on trial for Chandra’s murder. Queen’s Counsel Karl Hudson-Phillips is leading the defence for Maraj-Naraynsingh, while Senior Counsel Lawrence Maharaj is leading the defence for Ramasir.
Morris, the first of the State’s two main witnesses to be called yesterday, told the court that he was granted an Immunity on November 4, 2004, from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). That immunity debarred him from being prosecuted for the murder of Chandra.
Led by Special Prosecutor Dana Seetahal, Morris began his evidence by telling the court that Shawn Parris was the father of his (Morris’) sister’s children. Parris is the State’s other main witness, who is expected to be called at today’s hearing. Morris, who lived at Byron Street, La Romaine, said he was taken into a Witness Protection Programme. He testified that on a day in June 1994, he was at his father’s house at Fiona Street, Cocoyea Village, near San Fernando, when his brother, Ken, received a telephone call. He said he drove Ken to the Gulf City Shopping Complex. He said he parked in the carpark when another car, driven by Errol "Rev" Pierre, drove up alongside his vehicle.
Morris told the court that "a man of East Indian descent" and a woman sat in the backseat of his (Morris’) car. Morris said that he told his brother, Ken, that they had a problem which they heard he (Ken) could help them with. Morris testified, "Ken said that ‘Rev’ already gave him an idea and he could speak to him in front of me. The East Indian man went on to tell him that he had a job for him to eliminate someone. Ken asked him (the East Indian man) what he mean by eliminate. The woman said ‘he means to kill someone.’" Morris told Volney and the jury that the East Indian man then told Ken that the person he wanted killed was "his wife." Morris said, "Ken went on to tell him that he never took no work to murder a woman, but if the price is right he will do it." The State witness said when his brother quoted a price of $150,000 to do the job, Maraj-Naraynsingh said she was expecting them to be more lenient on them. Morris told the court his brother reduced the price to $100,000 and the couple agreed.
Morris testified that the East Indian man then drove to where Chandra lived at Elizabeth Gardens, St Joseph. They then drove to the Langmore Health Foundation on the directions from the East Indian man, Morris said. Morris testified that they then drove to Ramasir’s Auto Supplies. There, Morris said, the East Indian man and Maraj-Naraynsingh went into the office of the business place. Errol "Rev" Pierre brought out $15,000 in one hundred dollar bills and gave the money to Ken Morris, witness Morris said. Morris testified that on the day before Chandra’s killing, he saw Maraj-Naraynsingh pull up in front of his father’s house at Cocoyea Village. Morris said she spoke to Ken.
Continuing his testimony, Morris said he overheard the accused Maraj-Naraynsingh tell his brother Ken that she was listening to the news every day, but was not hearing anything. The accused woman said the job was supposed to be done when the man was out of the country.
The next day — June 29, 1994 — at 10 am, Morris said, his brother Ken spoke to him and he drove Parris, who "was wearing a sling as if something wrong with his hand" at the Langmore Health Foundation. Morris said while he waited for Parris in a canefield road, he heard four explosions and ten minutes later heard "a lot of sirens." Morris said he drove into the clinic, but did not find Parris there. He said he later saw Parris at a house at Green Acres, Cross Crossing, San Fernando.
The trial continues today when Morris will be further cross-examined by Hudson-Phillips. Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC will also question Morris today.
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