Jurors warned: Do not discuss Amy’s case
By AZARD ALI Saturday, October 8 2011
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AMY'S AUNT: Amy Annamunthodo's aunt, Anna Jattan, leaves the San Fernando High Court yesterday holding a baby, after giving evidence for the State in ...
FOR a child of her age, four, Amy Annamunthodo was never able to speak properly.
The child’s aunt, Anna Jattan, told the San Fernando High Court yesterday. At the time, she was giving evidence on behalf of the State.
Jattan said she was able to assess Amy as a child, because she had interactions with her.
Amy lived in a wooden house in Marabella, with her mother, Anita, and stepfather Marlon King, when she was killed on May 15, 2006.
King, 44, is on trial for the child’s murder in which the State is contending before Justice Anthony Carmona and a jury of 12 members, that Amy was hanged by the hair in a bedroom and cuffed between 15 to 30 times.
The trial began Tuesday, and yesterday the State Prosecutor, Mauricea Joseph, called Jattan to the witness box. The woman said she is Anita’s sister and lives at Ibis Avenue, Cali Bay, Couva. She knew Amy as a child.
Jattan also told the judge and jury that she met the child’s biological father, a man call Jason. Joseph then asked Jattan if she had interactions with Amy. She answered in the affirmative.
Joseph asked Jattan to explain what she observed about Amy, and the witness said, “For her age, she never spoke properly. Not for her age.” She went on to testify that on May 16, 2006, she identified Amy’s body at the Forensic Science Centre, Port-of-Spain, where she noticed bruises on the child’s body. She said she saw Amy’s body in the funeral home and the child was buried in the Marabella cemetery.
Jattan testified that she knows accused King and the witness was asked to point him out in the court. She said, “Yes, I know him to be with my sister.....approximately two years.”
Farouk Hosein and Dereck Dindial, King’s attorneys, did not cross-examine Jattan.
The State will call more witnesses on Monday when the trial resumes, but yesterday Carmona warned the six women and six men on the jury panel, to steer clear of heightening passions about the trial, which is being widely publicised in the media. The judge said, however, that a child’s death would evoke sympathy, and that is natural, but the accused King cannot be tried on the basis of tears.
Carmona said, “Your passions should not be heightened by what you are hearing, or reading. But you don’t have to be cold-hearted because a child’s death would evoke sympathy. But you can’t judge the case on the basis of tears. You have to divorce your minds from emotional feelings, and harken to the evidence only.”
Carmona warned that if the jury fails to pay attention to the evidence given in the witness box, they would be failing in their oath to try the issues, and only the issues, between the State and accused, King.
Carmona went on to inform the jury that they should be the first to enter the court, and leave at the end of the day’s sitting, so as to avoid contact with witnesses, and even State and defence attorneys. He said: “Out of courtesy, counsel may say ‘Good morning’ to you. Or, they may appear to be uppity. We are to ensure you remain insulated from everyone else, who is involved in the trial.” Finally, Carmona told the jury not to discuss the case with anyone, but wait until they have heard all the evidence in the trial.
On Thursday, police draftsman, Sgt Gregory Hood, tendered a sketch of the house where Amy lived with Anita and King, at Ste Madeleine Road, Marabella. He also testified that he made a sketch of a length of overhead lumber which he described as a “wooden beam” in one of the bedrooms. Hood also sketched a hole in the wall of the house. The copies of sketches were shown to the jury, after it was admitted and tendered into evidence.
The trial continues on Monday.