Lawyer in Koury case queries forensic expert’s qualifications

De­fence at­tor­neys for five men ac­cused of kid­nap­ping and mur­der­ing busi­ness­man Dr Ed­ward Koury have sought to dis­cred­it the State’s foren­sic ex­pert.

As their tri­al re­sumed at the Hall of Jus­tice in Port-of-Spain yes­ter­day, Pamela El­der SC spent a con­sid­er­able amount of time rais­ing dis­crep­an­cies with re­tired po­lice in­spec­tor Judy Badall’s qual­i­fi­ca­tions and the pro­ce­dure she used to gath­er and test ev­i­dence in the case.

In terms of her qual­i­fi­ca­tions, El­der, who is rep­re­sent­ing Caleb Don­ald­son, ques­tioned Badall’s claim of be­ing a fin­ger­print ex­pert, as she point­ed out that she (Badall) on­ly par­tic­i­pat­ed in short train­ing cours­es pro­vid­ed by the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS).

While Badall ad­mit­ted she had an out­stand­ing ap­pli­ca­tion for cer­ti­fi­ca­tion from the In­ter­na­tion­al As­so­ci­a­tion for Iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, she main­tained her des­ig­na­tion as an ex­pert was based on decades of ex­pe­ri­ence and train­ing from for­eign in­struc­tors cer­ti­fied by the as­so­ci­a­tion.

“No one in Trinidad name is there,” Badall said, as she sought to ex­plain that the train­ing she re­ceived lo­cal­ly was on­ly of­fered to a hand­ful of of­fi­cers who had ex­pe­ri­ence in foren­sic work.

El­der al­so sought to ques­tion Badall on the pro­ce­dure she and her col­leagues fol­lowed to analyse fin­ger­prints that were found on a get­away car used by Koury’s ab­duc­tors.

“You ex­am­ined a whole ve­hi­cle and you come to court and say you found a lit­tle fin­ger­print on a door han­dle match­ing Caleb?” El­der asked, as she en­quired whether the five oth­er prints Badall claimed she found were prop­er­ly analysed.

While Badall main­tained that she per­formed the nec­es­sary analy­sis on the oth­er prints, she could not point to any records which cor­rob­o­rat­ed her claims.

Ques­tioned by El­der on the process used to do the com­par­i­son, Badall ad­mit­ted that in for­eign coun­tries an in­de­pen­dent ex­pert usu­al­ly gives a sec­ond opin­ion be­fore a fin­ger­print is matched. How­ev­er, she ad­mit­ted that it was not done in Koury’s case.

El­der al­so raised is­sues with how her client’s cloth­ing was pack­aged up­on his ar­rest. While Badall ini­tial­ly claimed that the al­leged­ly blood-stained items were pack­aged in front of Don­ald­son, El­der said there was no record of such a process oc­cur­ring.

Don­ald­son, who was seat­ed in the pris­on­er en­clo­sure, was seen shak­ing his head in dis­ap­proval as Badall claimed she fol­lowed the cor­rect pro­ce­dure.

“You saw blood stains af­ter you had ac­cess to blood?” El­der said.

Dur­ing yes­ter­day’s hear­ing, Badall pre­sent­ed the cer­tifi­cates of analy­sis for sev­er­al pieces of foren­sic ev­i­dence gath­ered in the case.

One cer­tifi­cate stat­ed that a gun found in a house in D’Abadie where two of the ac­cused men were ar­rest­ed matched spent shells and bul­let frag­ments that were left at the scene of the kid­nap­ping. An­oth­er showed that no gun­pow­der residue was found on the men at the time of their ar­rest.

El­der is ex­pect­ed to con­tin­ue to cross-ex­am­ine Badall when the case re­sumes this morn­ing.

De­tails of case

Jerome Mur­ray, Shawn James, Robert Franklyn, Caleb Don­ald­son and Ter­ry Moore are charged with kid­nap­ping and mur­der­ing Koury on Sep­tem­ber 21, 2005.

Koury was at his im­port and dis­tri­b­u­tion com­pa­ny, Isko En­ter­pris­es Lim­it­ed, lo­cat­ed in the Ma­coya In­dus­tri­al Es­tate when four men en­tered and de­mand­ed guns and mon­ey.

Koury re­sist­ed and was stabbed be­fore be­ing tak­en away by the men. Two days lat­er, his head­less corpse was found in an aban­doned cit­rus plan­ta­tion in cen­tral Trinidad. To date, his head had nev­er been found by po­lice.

The group of men are be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by a team of de­fence at­tor­neys in­clud­ing Pamela El­der, SC, Evans Welch, Wayne Sturge, Mario Mer­ritt, Daniel Khan, Ria Man­kee-Sookram and Je­han Mo­hammed-Ali. Nigel Pil­grim and An­ju Bho­la are pros­e­cut­ing.

Reporter: Derek Achong

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