Family of murder accused …”VOODOO IN YUH TAIL”

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The relatives of a man charged with the murder of a prisons officer have put obeah on the police who they say fabricated the case.

The allegations of fabrication of evidence and assault were leveled against the police by the man charged with the murder of prisons officer Devenand Boodooram on January 26.

Andre Nicholas Lavia, 26, of Basilon Street, East Dry River, Port of Spain, appeared on Friday before acting Chief Magistrate Maria Busby Earle-Caddle, charged with Boodooram’s murder at Frederick Street, Port-of-Spain.

After the murder charge was read to Lavia, his attorneys complained about the police conduct.

When Lavia was brought to the courthouse his relatives hurled insults at the police, accusing them of framing the accused for the murder.

Three female relatives threatened to do voodoo on the police officers involved in the investigation into Boodooram’s murder. Inside the court building, the women had to be warned by police to behave.

When he was brought before the magistrate, and after the murder charge, and two additional charges of firearm and ammunition possession, were read out to him by Earle-Caddle, Lavia’s attorney Richard Clarke-Wills complained about the identification parade conducted by the police on Wednesday.

He said Lavia’s wife was not allowed to attend the parade. He also complained that despite inquiries about the evidence against his client, he does not know on what basis the murder charge was laid.

The summary of evidence was also not available, court prosecutor Sgt Rawle Ramharack informed the chief magistrate, as he said the police file on the investigation was still being compiled to be sent to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions for a state attorney to be appointed to prosecute.

Clarke-Wills responded, “We are concerned that they are fabricating the case as they are going along.”

The lawyer was advised to write to the Court and Process Branch for the summary of evidence and Earle-Caddle adjourned the case to next Thursday to get a status on the police file as well as the summary of evidence.

A fourth charge was then read out to Lavia of possession of marijuana. It is alleged he was with the illegal drug while in police custody. He pleaded not-guilty and opted to have the case heard summarily in the Magistrates’ Court.

That matter was transferred to the 4B Court. The marijuana exhibit was not brought to court as the police officer who charged Lavia for the murder and the other charges had a personal emergency and was not in court.

Clarke-Wills complained that Lavia was manhandled and slapped down by eight police officers whose names he did not know while at the Central Police Station on St Vincent Street.

He said it was passing strange that the drugs were found on his client early Friday morning when Lavia has been in custody since his arrest on the Easter weekend.

Clarke-Wills said since Lavia’s arrest, he has been shuttled back and forth from the Besson Street Police Station to the Homicide Bureau of Investigations offices at Riverside Plaza to the Central Police and thoroughly searched each time by police.

Clarke-Wills also said his client had serious concerns that he may be subjected to retributive conduct by Boodooram’s colleagues when goes to the prison.

Lavia denied the aliases the police claimed he is known by, Brandon Thomas and Wetman Andre.

Earle-Caddle took a note of all the complaints.

Boodooram, 50,  was driving on Frederick Street after finishing his shift at the Port-of-Spain State Prison around 5 pm, when he was ambushed by a lone gunman in front of  St Mary’s College.

The father of two was shot four times, once to the head, once to the neck and twice in his chest. He died on the spot.

His attacker then ran up Frederick Street and across Oxford Street towards Charford Court.

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ANDRE LAVIA

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