State witness WPC Clement testifies
By AZARD ALI Friday, March 8 2013
THE long-awaited testimony of a policewoman against six policemen charged for murder, got underway yesterday amidst tight police security inside and outside of the Princes Town Magistrates’ Court.
WPC Nicole Clement testified for approximately two hours before Senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne although Senior Counsel Israel Khan — lead defense for the six cops — was not present to cross-examine WPC Clement.
Khan is engaged in a matter in the Port-of-Spain Assizes but Clement will return today when Khan is expected to be present to cross-examine her. Clement, 33, was among the officers charged for the July 22, 2011 shooting death of Alana Duncan, Abigail Johnson and Kerron “Fingers” Eccles. They were killed at the corner of Poui Trace and Rochard Douglas Road, Barrackpore. The six accused cops are: Cpl Khemraj Sahadeo, PCs Ronaldo Rivero, Antonio Ramdhin, Roger Nicholas, Glen Singh and Safraz Juman.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard later dropped the murder charge against Clement as she turned State’s witness, instead being charged with attempting to pervert the course of public justice. She is on $100,000 bail and is being afforded protection.
Yesterday, Gaspard called Clement to testify and she was escorted into the courtroom, after the public gallery was cleared and Special Branch police officers seated themselves in strategic positions.
Relatives of the accused men and relatives of the victims, were allowed to remain in court. Clement walked into the courtroom and glanced at her former colleagues who at one time worked in the now disbanded South Robbery Squad.
Clement affirmed, instead of swearing on a religious book, to tell the truth and Gaspard then led evidence from her, while Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson took notes. On three occasions, Clement looked at a written document to refresh her memory during her testimony. The accused cops were seen also making notes.
The six accused officers wore white long-sleeved shirts, black pants and dark coloured ties. Each wore the same ribbon pinned above the left breast pocket of their shirts, which, according to one of the relatives, was in memory of their slain colleague Sgt Hayden Manwaring, who was shot dead on February 22.
When Gaspard ended his questioning for the day, Clement was whisked away by police officers. She was hidden from the public’s view by an umbrella when she boarded a black, heavily tinted SUV vehicle which sped off with several unmarked black police vehicles escorting.