|WPC turns State witness |
By AZARD ALI Thursday, June 21 2012
THE CASE against seven police officers took a new twist yesterday when the murder charge against the only female accused, Nicole Clement, was dropped. Instead, Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard laid a fresh charge against the 33-year-old woman — conspiring to pervert the course of public justice.
This has set the stage for WPC Clement to turn State Witness against the other six accused officers. As the murder charge was formally discontinued, WPC Clement became eligible to get bail and on being granted such, she was whisked away from the courthouse and is now at an undisclosed “safe house”, senior police sources revealed.
Yesterday, the State brought 15 witnesses into the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court in readiness to start the preliminary inquiry into the killings. Of the 15, nine are civilian while six are police officers. Three of the civilian witnesses are women. The scheduled start of the inquiry did not take place as Senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne was ill and did not attend court.
WPC Clement, Cpl Khemraj Sahadeo, PCs Antonio Ramdhin, Glen Singh, Safraz Juman, Roger Nicholas and Renaldo Rivero instead, stood before Magistrate Margaret Alert accused of shooting to death on July 22 2011, Allana Duncan, Abigail Johnson and Kerron “Fingers” Eccles at the corner of Poui Trace and Rochard Douglas Road. DPP Gaspard and Gilbert Petersen, both Senior Counsels (SC), are prosecuting while Pamela Elder SC instructed by Richard Mason is counsel for Clement and Israel Khan SC, Ulric Skerret and Celeste St Louis are counsel for the remaining accused officers.
Alert informed the court that Quintyne was ill and could not attend court.
Alert then informed the witnesses they are to return on July 9 at 10 am. WPC Clement remained in the courtroom while her six co-accused male officers left to head back to Maximum Security Prison.
At 2 pm, she was served with a document signed by DPP Gaspard officially informing her that the charge of murder was dropped and she is now charged with perverting the course of public justice.
WPC Clement went before a Justice of the Peace to answer the new charge and was then granted $100,000 bail. She was later escorted out of the courthouse under an armed police escort and placed in an unmarked police vehicle which sped off.