Three more witnesses are expected to testify in the trial of two men accused of murdering six-year-old Sean Luke as teenagers before the State closes its case.
This was revealed as the latest witness in the case, DNA expert Dr Maurice Aboud, completed his testimony and was cross-examined during yesterday’s hearing of the judge-alone virtual trial before Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds.
Once State prosecutors close their case, defence attorneys for Akeel Mitchell and Richard Chatoo are expected to present theirs. Ramsumair-Hinds will then consider the evidence and determine the duo’s guilt or innocence.
Mitchell’s lawyers have already indicated that he will not testify in his defence and will call two defence witnesses. Chatoo is not expected to call witnesses but has indicated that he would take the witness stand to testify in his defence.
During yesterday’s hearing, Chatoo’s lawyer Evans Welch spent several hours going through Aboud’s findings in the case.
Aboud maintained that Mitchell could not be excluded as a contributor to DNA profiles found on Luke’s underwear and on the sugarcane stalk he (Luke) was sodomised with, but stated Chatoo could not be linked to the DNA of a third unknown person found on both items.
Despite Aboud’s findings, his cross-examination by Mitchell’s legal team was surprisingly short. Mitchell’s attorney Randall Raphael sought to quiz Dr Aboud over the testing fees charged to the State by his company Caribbean Forensics Centre. While Aboud could not provide details over his company’s invoices, he was able to say that testing an individual sample would cost approximately $3,000. In total, a dozen samples were tested by the company for the case.
Since the trial commenced in early April, over two dozen witnesses have given evidence. The witnesses included Luke’s mother and two residents who were among a group of children that went fishing with Luke when he disappeared.
Luke went missing on the evening of March 26, 2006 and his body was found two days later. An autopsy revealed that he died from internal injuries and bleeding arising out of being sodomised with a 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.
Mitchell is also being represented by Mario Merritt and Kirby Joseph, while Kelston Pope and Gabriel Hernandez are also representing Chatoo.
Sabrina Dougdeen-Jaglal, Anju Bhola and Sophia Sandy-Smith are prosecuting.
The trial is scheduled to resume next Wednesday.