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