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Magistrate sounds warning on gag order

PORT OF SPAIN — Senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne has again warned of “consequences” for any breach of her gag order prohibiting the publication of the name of a witness testifying at the murder inquiry involving six police officers.

The gag, which is usually placed on members of the media, was also extended to all members of the public attending the hearing in the Princes Town First Court on Tuesday. She warned against publishing the witness’s name and evidence on social networking sites, as well as in print.

“To the press and members of the public, no mention is to be made anywhere about the testimony of this witness or anything that could lead to his identity, whether it is in print or electronic, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp… Absolutely no mention of it. There will be consequences,” Quintyne warned.

Consecutive gag orders

This was the second consecutive gag order placed on the proceedings by Quintyne, who is presiding over the inquiry in which acting Corporal Khemraj Sahadeo, and constables Ronaldo Rivero, Antonio Ramdhin, Glen Singh, Safraz Juman and Roger Nicholas are accused of murdering Abigail Johnson, Alana Duncan and Kerron “Fingers” Eccles in July 2011.

On Monday, Quintyne, after a request from Director of Public Prosecutions, Roger Gaspard, who is leading the state’s case against the officers, had also issued a prohibitive injunction barring the publication of the names of two witnesses testifying at that hearing. On Tuesday she again issued a gag order.

“There is to be no discussion of what transpired in court outside of court. This is for every person in the public gallery,” she added.

The matter was adjourned to April 18 and 19. Prosecutor Gilbert Peterson SC tendered a statement from witness Marlon Figaro. He said four more witness statements, including that of ACP Raymond Craig, who charged the officers, and a forensic scientist, are to be filed by the end of next week. On Tuesday, the witness, who was cross-examined by defence attorney Ulric Skerritt, testified for 25 minutes. (Guardian)

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