Retired Wesley House fire victim Myld Plenderleith, is happy that the perpetrators have been found guilty. Two cousins, 31-year old Newvry Doram, and 34-year old Kelvin Doram, were charged with arson. Both men maintained their innocence during the trial, and told the court from the prisoner’s dock that they were “innocent and know nothing of the fire.”
The fire occurred in the early hours of May 23, 2014. Police reports indicate Shan Andrew was alone in the house when two individuals armed with cutlasses entered. They tied and beat Andrew, then spread a flammable liquid in the house, and set it on fire. Andrew managed to escape and was later treated for his injuries at the Wesley Health Center.
In his summary, the lead State Prosecutor Trinidadian Keith Scotland told the jury that the State had made its case against both men and the “evidence was crystal clear.” He said the men, were properly identified by Andrew.
At his tern, defense lawyer Wayne Norde told the jury that the State’s case was “riddled with mathematical errors and should be determined in favour of the men.”
He added “The place was pitch dark at 3:00 am…people came in the house, you are asleep and you are able to properly identify them, this makes no sense, we are saying that Andrew was not able to see who the men were”. The prosecution’s case he said, was “gold plated”, and he urged the jury to return a not guilty verdict.
During her address to the members of the jury, Madame Justice Victoria Charles-Clarke warned that they were to have no sympathy for anyone. “You should have no bias or prejudices in this matter, the prosecution’s case is a joint enterprise and before convicting the men, you have to be sure that the prosecution convinced you, any doubt must be resolved in favour of the men,” she said.
Justice Charles-Clarke ordered a social inquiry report on the men to be sent to the court on October 27, 2016, and set sentencing for November 1, 2016. Both men are now on remand at the State’s prison until sentencing. The house was valued at over $300,000.
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