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Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds

Derek Achong

A Sangre Grande man has become the second person to participate in a judge-alone trial for murder via video conferencing.

After spending almost exactly 12 years on remand awaiting trial, Carlos Cazair finally got his chance yesterday as the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) commenced his trial before Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds.

However, the start of the trial almost had to be cancelled before it even began as the DPP’s Office constantly experienced technical difficulties with its video conferencing facility.

When the trial eventually commenced, State prosecutor Maria Lyons-Edwards was able to tender the witness statements of six uncontentious witnesses into evidence. The technical issues recurred as prosecutors were seeking to have a witness testify from their office.

Ramsumair-Hinds stood down the case for the Judiciary’s staff to assist but the connectivity issue persisted.

As she adjourned the case to this morning, Ramsumair-Hinds expressed disappointment in the situation but still commended the parties for accomplishing some work during the relatively brief hearing.

“Today was about to be a failed sitting but we persisted and a trial has started,” Ramsumair-Hinds said, as she was confident that the issues would be resolved to allow the trial to proceed smoothly.

Ramsumair-Hinds also politely rejected a suggestion by prosecutors to consider having a physical trial in the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain instead of a virtual trial.

“I too look forward to returning to the hall when the time is right,” Ramsumair-Hinds said as she encouraged the parties to be patient.

She said any such decision would be guided by public health regulations for the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and related practice directions issued by Chief Justice Ivor Archie.

Cazair is on trial for murdering 43-year-old Elvis Emile on June 7, 2008.

Emile, a painter of Greenidge Street, Foster Road, Sangre Grande, had just left a bar at Ojoe Road around 2.30 am when he had an altercation and was stabbed several times in his head and chest. He died on the scene.

Cazair is being represented by Amerelle Francis and Susan Kalipersad.

Cazair’s trial comes less than two weeks after Quincy Martinez became the first person to agree to participate in a jury-less trial via video conference.

Martinez’s trial, which lasted three days before Ramsumair-Hinds, ended with him being found not guilty of murder.