The trial of two men accused of murdering six-year-old Sean Luke as teenagers has been postponed until next week.
The last hearing of the case on Monday was adjourned earlier than expected as presiding Judge Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds had an emergency.
An assistant Supreme Court registrar adjourned the case to yesterday in Ramsumair-Hinds’ absence but it was subsequently adjourned until next Monday. Defence attorneys are currently cross-examining the State’s last witness, retired Sgt Alexis Garcia, who served as lead investigator in the case.
After they complete their cross-examination, they may choose to bring no case submissions claiming that the State failed to present sufficient evidence linking their clients to the crime. If such applications are dismissed by Ramsumair-Hinds, the men will be called upon to present their defences.
Richard Chatoo has already indicated that he would take the witness stand to testify in his defence. His co-accused Akeel Mitchell is expected to remain silent but has indicated that he would call two defence witnesses including a pathologist that performed a second autopsy on Luke’s body and found a different cause of death to the State’s pathologist.
Ramsumair-Hinds will then consider all the evidence before her and determine their innocence or guilt.
Luke went missing on the evening of March 26, 2006 and his body was found two days later in an abandoned sugarcane field next to his community. An autopsy revealed that he died from internal injuries and bleeding arising out of being sodomized with cane stalk.
Chatoo, who was 15-years-old at the time, and 13-year-old Mitchell, who is the nephew of Chatoo’s stepfather and lived with them briefly before Luke’s murder, were charged with the crime.
During the trial, DNA evidence was presented linking Mitchell to the sugarcane stalk used to sodomize Luke and semen that was found on his underwear. A second foreign DNA profile was found on the underwear but Chatoo was not linked to it.
Chatoo also allegedly confessed to his role in the crime in an interview with police but his attorneys have contended that he was intimidated and coerced into doing so and was not warned of his constitutional rights.
Mitchell is being represented by Mario Merritt, Randall Raphael and Kirby Joseph, while Evans Welch, Kelston Pope and Gabriel Hernandez are representing Chatoo. Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal, Anju Bhola and Sophia Sandy-Smith are prosecuting.