THE Bartica Massacre High Court trial has been adjourned to Thursday morning after one of the three accused Dennis Williams called “Anaconda” did not show up in court and discharged his Attorney, Saphier Hussain.Hussain told the court that his client asked that he be excused from the trial on Wednesday and fired him as his lawyer. This development comes after an eventful day on Tuesday in which Dennis’ father Grantley Williams testified on behalf of the defence and gave conflicting dates as to when the Bartica Massacre occurred.
He told the court that his son was in the lockups on the night in question and was also by his house drinking and conversing. Justice Roxane George SC, in response, told the court that Hussain will still have to attend court but given what has transpired, as the trial judge, she will confer with the Chief Justice Yonette Edwards-Cummings on the matter.
The court heard that if the accused can retain another lawyer for the duration of the trial, it can be done; however if he cannot, the State will assign an attorney, even Hussain, for the continuation of the matter.
Meanwhile, a juror was ill on Wednesday and was absent from the trial, which is nearing an end. As such Justice Roxane George SC admonished the members of the jury to be careful at all times and watch themselves and those they associate with and should they be approached by anyone, it should be reported forthwith.
The case has been adjourned for 09:00hrs on Thursday.
On trial are Mark Royden Williams called “Smallie”, Dennis Williams called “Anaconda” and Roger Simon called “Goat Man” each indicted for 12 counts for the murder of nine civilians and three policemen at Bartica on February 17, 2008.
However, two of the original five accused, Michael Caesar and Clebert Reece,have since pleaded guilty to manslaughter separately and have been sentenced.
Mark Royden Williams is being represented by Roger Yearwood, Dennis Williams’ lawyer was Saphier Hussain and Roger Simon’s attorney is Peter Hugh.
During the February 17, 2008 rampage, 12 persons were gunned down by a group of heavily armed men, who descended on Bartica at nightfall.
Those who lost their lives were Bartica residents Edwin Gilkes, Dexter Adrian and Irving Ferreira; policemen stationed at the Bartica Police Station, Lance Corporal Zaheer Zakir, Constables Shane Fredericks and Ron Osborne; Deonarine Singh of Wakenaam; Ronald Gomes of Kuru Kururu; Ashraf Khan of Middlesex, Essequibo; Abdool Yasseen and Errol Thomas of Tuschen, East Bank Essequibo; and Baldeo Singh of Montrose, East Coast Demerara.
Rondell “Fineman” Rawlins, according to the police, led the gang on the rampage in Bartica, as well as the one that converged on Lusignan on January 26, 2008.
Rawlins was killed during a Joint Services Operation on August 28, 2008. With his death and the arrest and prosecution of the five suspects, it appeared as though the police had closed their investigations.
The State is being represented by Diana Kaulesar and Stacy Goodings.