Sean Luke

Murder victim: Sean Luke

ONE of the men accused of murdering six-year-old Sean Luke in 2006 is claiming that the statement given by him to homicide detectives after the child’s body was found was obtained through oppression, inducement and trickery.

Richard Chatoo, who was just a teenager when he was arrested in March 2006 and later charged is maintaining his innocence, saying that the State’s case against him was fabricated by investigators.

His defence statement was yesterday read in open court by presiding judge Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds. After the reading of the defence statement, Chatoo was asked by the judge to confirm its contents and verify his signature.

The defence statement of Chatoo’s co-accused, Akeel Mitchell, who was also a teenager when charged for the capital offence, was previously tendered into evidence. In it, Mitchell, provided an alibi, claiming he was not present when the boy was killed.

Earlier during yesterday’s hearing, one of the State’s witnesses, Avinash Baboolal, who lived in the same area as Luke, completed his testimony.

His evidence was followed by that of another resident, Arvis Pradeep, who was led into his evidence-in-chief by State prosecutor Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal.

He is the 17th witness to be called since the trial started on March 19.

While journalists are allowed to report the evidence of witnesses during criminal trial, in this instance Justice Ramsumair-Hinds has imposed a temporary gag order, restricting reporters from making public the testimonies of either Baboolal or Pradeep.

Last week, the judge said she accepted that members of the public were entitled to know what was transpiring at the trial, but in this instance, she believed it was best that the evidence of the two men not be made public at this time.

She assured that once Pradeep’s testimony was complete, the restriction would be lifted and at that point, journalists will be allowed to report their evidence.

When Pradeep returns to court tomorrow, criminal defence attorney Mario Merritt will begin his cross-examination of the witness on behalf of Mitchell. This will be followed by cross-examination by attorney Evans Welch on behalf of Chatoo.

Both accused are alleged to have murdered Luke sometime between March 26 when he went missing from his Couva home and March 29, the day after his body was discovered in a cane field not far from where he lived.

An autopsy found he died from severe internal injuries after being sodomised with a cane stalk.

Also appearing on behalf of the two men are attorneys Randall Raphael, Kelston Pope, Kirby Joseph and Gabriel Hernandez.

Attorneys Anju Bhola and Sophia Sandy-Smith appear alongside Dougdeen-Jaglal for the State.


Covid-19 has toppled a giant — local bodybuilding icon Lawrence “The Beast” Marshall.

Health officials confirmed to the Express yesterday that Marshall presented to the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC) in Mt Hope on Friday very ill.

He was admitted and tested positive for the Covid-19 virus.

Marshall, 57, also had co-morbidities as he had previously suffered heart and kidney ailments.

Venezuelans are illegally flocking to Trinidad and sending messages for their relatives to brave the waters and join, because when they are held they are not being deported but allowed to stay, claims Opposition Senator Damian Lyder.

Opposition MP Dr Roodal Moonilal has challenged Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to take the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine to show his confidence in the jab.

Moonilal made the call on the heels of criticisms after he warned people to be cautious about being used as “guinea pigs” for the Chinese vaccine, which only has emergency-use approval.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has knocked Moonilal, stating that the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine is safe and has undergone a rigorous assessment by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

A man who allegedly raped a 13-year-old runaway girl staying at his home has been arrested by police.

The girl was rescued by police and taken into the care and custody of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS).

Final year nursing students at the College of Science, Technology and Applied Arts of Trinidad and Tobago (COSTAATT) in San Fernando say they are being denied their right to graduate and progress by the school’s administration.