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Jan 22, 2002

Prosecution winds up gang rape case

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The final prosecution testimony in the James Pelayo rape case came this morning from subpoenaed witness Guadaloupe Cowo, mother of one of the minors involved in the May 2000 incident and C.I.B. detective Millard Tun. News 5′s Ann-Marie Williams was at the Supreme Court.

Ann-Marie Williams, Reporting

Cowo told the court via an interpreter this morning that she was not present at the time when the police questioned her son. Officer Tun told the court that on May thirty-first of 2000 he was asked by Sergeant Carol Tucker to process a male Hispanic person and others arrested for murder.

Justice John Gonzalez asked Tun if he cautioned Amir Sutherland, one of the accused. Tun said, “Well, no.”

A surprised judge said, “The constitution says you have to do so, the law says so.”

Prosecutor Velda Flowers then told the judge that she’s making an application to amend maim, one of the original charges, to grievous harm. An angry defence attorney for James Pelayo and Ricardo Alamilla, Lutchman Sooknandan, objected to the amendment on several grounds, saying that it’s not an amendment of the original charge of maim, but the substitution on another charge. He cited a case from the Eastern Caribbean, which speaks to amendments to show it is prejudicial to the defence. Flowers said it’s not prejudicial and gave way for Justice Gonzalez to rule that the indictment be amended.

When Defence Counsel, Lutchman Sooknandan rose to make his submission this morning, he told presiding judge John Gonzalez that it would be a travesty of justice if he should continue the case. He said that there was gross inconsistency coming from the prosecution’s witness. He said that the victim was very evasive in her answering and that he could cite at least thirteen times when she was asked a question and she said “I cannot recall.”

Sooknandan continued by saying that there is not a scintilla or an iota of evidence to substantiate the charge of attempted murder. He said none of the witnesses who came forward said anything about who wanted to murder whom.

On Wednesday Justice Gonzales is expected to do his summation of the case. Ann-Marie Williams for News 5.

The case of Ernel Welcome, charged with the shooting death of millionaire heiress Therese Blake Ayuso, is expected to start on Thursday before Supreme Court Justice John Gonzales.


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