Mala Mohammed

UNANIMOUS: Mala Mohammed,

wife of former supermarket owner

“Uncle Khalid”.

THE State is inching closer to closing its case against the two men who are currently on trial for the 2004 murder of Mala Mohammed, the wife of former supermarket owner Khalid “Uncle Khalid” Mohammed.

There are just three more prosecution witnesses to give evidence in the trial that is being heard by Justice Maria Wilson, at the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.

One of those witnesses is a woman who was employed as a maid by the Mohammed family when Mala Mohammed was ambushed by two men on the evening of May 10, 2004. She was shot dead moments after she drove her vehicle into the garage of her Edward Street, Princes Town home.

The maid, according to the State’s case, was at home at the location at the time and heard and saw the commotion before hiding below a pool table inside the house.

Attorneys involved in the trial said the State will possibly bring its case to a close as early as next week.

Once this is done, the defence may then make no-case submissions on behalf of their clients. Provided that those submissions are not upheld by the judge, the accused will be given the opportunity to call their own witnesses or enter the witness box and give evidence of their own.

Following this, the judge will then summarise the evidence to the jurors after which they will embark on their deliberations.

On trial for the murder are Sheldon Reed, of Howard Street, Five Rivers, and Dane Swann, of Bertie Street, Arouca.

During yesterday’s hearing, justice of the peace Sasiparbha Arjoonsingh was called as a witness for the prosecution.

Arjoonsingh was present as homicide detectives recorded an alleged confession statement from Swann on the evening of February 16, 2005.

She testified that on the day in question, she received a telephone call from investigators before going to San Fernando Police Station. Once there, Arjoonsingh said she met with Insp George before being taken to a room and introduced to Swann and another police officer.

Swann had agreed to give a written statement to officers, she said.

Arjoonsingh said she eventually requested that the officers leave the room in order for her to have a private conversation with the accused. The purpose of that conversation was to determine whether Swann understood his rights and/or consequences for giving such a statement.

He did, she said, and he agreed to give the statement of his own free will.

She said she questioned Swann as to whether the officers had induced, threatened or made any promises to him in exchange for the statement.

None of this was done by the officers, Swann informed her.

In the statement, Swann confessed to being at the location on the evening of the murder but denied he had shot Mohammed.

Reed also provided a statement to investigators in which he also confessed to being at the scene but, like Swann, he too denied shooting Mohammed.

Mohammed was shot twice to the head and was pronounced dead at the scene. Nine months after the killing had taken place, both men were arrested and later charged.

Prosecuting the case are attorneys Joy Balkaran and Candace Nanton, while criminal defence attorneys Wayne Sturge, Mario Merritt, Alexia Romero and Karunaa Bisramsingh appear on behalf of the accused.