JEERS FOR KEYANA MURDER ACCUSED
By ALEXANDER BRUZUAL Tuesday, December 17 2013
Jeers from an angry crowd greeted security guard Dwayne Lewis as he arrived at the Arima Magistrates’ Court yesterday to face a magistrate almost a week since he had been charged, while at hospital, with the murder of six-year-old Keyana Cumberbatch.
By the end of the court hearing, Lewis, 28, was remanded to St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital for an evaluation.
Lewis, a security guard of Maloney Gardens, was not spared the heckling of a crowd of men and women, some of whom told reporters they had travelled to Arima from other parts of the country, such as San Fernando, to see the man accused of killing Keyana.
They waited all day from 8 am, along with media personnel, as Lewis was first discharged from the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope at about 11.20 pm, where he spent two weeks being treated for severe asthma. He was brought to the Arima court at about 2.15 pm.
As soon as Lewis stepped out of marked Nissan X-Trail police vehicle, the crowd began shouting at him. Their cries intensified when the police vehicle moved closer to the westward gate of the Arima court, preventing the crowd and some media personnel from seeing Lewis, who has been described as Keyana’s step-father.
At about 3.06 pm, Lewis was walked into the prisoners’ docks of the First Court.
Dressed in a cream long sleeve tshirt and khaki pants, with a red rosary around his neck, Lewis stood in silence with his arms clasped firmly in front of him as he stood before Senior Magistrate Indrani Cedeno.
It was alleged that sometime between November 24 and November 29, Lewis killed Keyana at her home at Building Four, Maloney Gardens. The charge was laid indictably and Lewis was not called upon to enter a plea.
Defence attorney Fareed Ali spent more than an hour expressing his key concerns about the treatment of his client while he was under the “charge, custody, and care” of the police.
Ali asked the court to take judicial notice of several matters, inclusive of the fact, that despite legislation which outlined when Legal Aid must be contacted, his client spent five days in custody, and gave a statement without legal representation to advise him. He also said Lewis was charged while at hospital without legal counsel putting his health at risk as he was under treatment for asthma.
“Section 15 of the Legal Aid and Advice (Amendment) Act specifically outlines when the police are expected to contact the Legal Aid Authority — when a suspect is detained, the senior officer in charge of the police station shall, as soon as possible inform the authority. Mr Lewis was detained since November 25, yet Legal Aid only got involved on November 29. All this time, my client instructs me that he was questioned repeatedly by officers, and required to give a statement — all of which he did without legal representation,” Ali told the court.
He said it was the Legal Aid Authority which contacted the police stating it was aware someone had been detained in connection to Keyana’s murder.
“Following this, the investigators continued to act without consulting or even contacting the Authority. For instance, when the police went to charge Lewis at his bedside, they did so without informing the Authority. They willingly subjected my client, who was unwell and being treated at the hospital for asthma, to a stressful situation which could have worsened his health,” Ali noted. The defence attorney said he had been instructed that Lewis had been deprived of the ability to bathe or brush his teeth for several days while in police custody. Ali said, as trivial as these things may seem to some people, it was part of a person’s basic human rights, and he asked the court to take judicial notice of the actions of the police.
“He was under their (the police) charge, custody and care, and during this period he was denied basic human rights.
For instance, at one point, my instructions were that the officers were not allowing my client access to the bathroom, and that he had to urinate in bottles that the police would provide. When I asked one of the officers I saw at the hospital, I was told that they had strict instructions ‘from higher up’ not to un-cuff my client for any circumstance,” Ali noted.
The attorney also said he had been informed that his client had received several death threats while in custody, adding he was present on one such occasion.
“Your Worship yesterday (Sunday) while I was at the hospital talking to one of the doctors in the same room where my client was resting, a police officer walked past us and came up to my client’s bedside. It was at this moment, within the earshot of myself and the doctor, that the officer told my client, and I quote, ‘you eh know me? You eh remember me? When I had the chance to kill you I should have taken it. Fellas like you don’t deserve to live.’ Of course, when I identified myself, the officer refused to give me his name or his number, he simply did not provide it, no matter how much I asked,” Ali said.
The attorney said although Lewis had undergone a psychiatric assessment at the medical complex, he submitted that a forensic report on his client was needed, and as such, he implored the court to send his client to the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital for a more extensive assessment. Ali said the court had the power to order the report under the Mental Health Act, and he submitted to the senior magistrate that this would be the best course of action. After further submissions, Cedeno granted the attorney leave and ordered Lewis be taken to the St Ann’s hospital for further evaluation instead of the Maximum Security Prison in Arouca.
The matter was then adjourned to December 30.
PC Gonzales is the complainant in the matter.
Keyana went missing on November 25.
Three days later, her body was found by her mother, Simone Williams, in a shipping barrel in one of the bedrooms of her apartment. An autopsy concluded she died as a result of blunt force trauma to the head.