October 24, 2012 3:28 PM
BELAIR -- The Prosecutor's Office is considering them the leader and his second in command in a criminal organisation involved with murder, drugs, rip deals, car theft and weapons, but their attorneys stated Tuesday A.O.W.J. (35) and C.A.R. (30) were innocent and unfoundedly charged, and should be fully acquitted.
The Prosecutor's Office demanded life sentences against these two suspects last week Thursday.
Both men were charged with the attempted murder of Omax B. and attempted manslaughter of Kennedy Fergus near the former Tan Tan supermarket in Dutch Quarter on April 20, 2011.
The Prosecutor's Office is also holding them responsible for the murders of brothers Miguel and Rodolfo Arrindell, who were shot and killed on May 25, 2011, and July 7, 2011, respectively.
The two allegedly also killed Eric Lake and Kevin Gumbs at Cat's Shopping Centre on August 17, 2011. They were also charged with firearm possession and membership of a criminal organisation.
According to the Prosecutor's Office, C.A.R. would have been a shooter in all of these killings, while A.O.W.J. would have been the one ordering the killings and preparing them.
The murders were allegedly in retaliation for the murder of A.O.W.J.'s brother Amador, who was shot and killed on April 16, 2011 – a murder which, in the opinion of the Prosecutor's Office, ignited a "gang war," against a backdrop of revenge and dominance in the drug trade.
Attorneys Brenda Brooks and Marije Vaders refuted the prosecutors' cases against their clients, contending that they were based on hearsay, false statements and tunnel vision.
Vaders said A.O.W.J. should be fully acquitted because his alleged involvement in the crimes would only have been based on "presumptions and guesses and on totally unreliable statements" by another suspect. Witnesses had come to unsubstantiated conclusions, she added.
Vaders pointed to what she considered several violations of her clients' rights, - including the illegitimate wire-tapping of a private conversation of her client D.D.T. (26), who is facing nine years for involvement in the Tan Tan case, membership of a criminal organisation and firearm possession.
Vaders also cited illegitimate infiltration during detention, and the use of statements of anonymous witnesses as reasons to throw out the prosecutor's case against her clients.
According to his lawyer, A.O.W.J. was not a drug trader. This presumption was also based on "gossip and rumours," said Vaders.
Both lawyers said the Prosecutor's Office had been focussing on the wrong guys. Not the group around A.O.W.J. would have been responsible for the killing of the Arrindell brothers, but Colombian men, presumably over drugs. However, this lead had never been investigated, Brooks said.
Vaders also contended that the case files had not provided any clarity as to who had actually fired the fatal shots. She refuted the prosecutors' claim that all killings had been executed according to the same modus operandi, and also denied that the same .45 ammunition was used at all times.
A.O.W.J. denied all accusations, including membership of a criminal organisation, and said the firearms that were found hidden in the bedroom of his 80-year-old grandmother, belonged to his late grandfather and had never been used.
"The file is giving a totally wrong impression of my client," Vaders said. She denied that her client had been upset after the death of his brother Amador. "They were two totally different persons. They weren't even on speaking terms," the lawyer said in pointing at the brothers' disturbed relationship.
Most evidence presented against her client C.A.R. was based on hearsay and on statements which could not be verified, said attorney Brooks in accusing the Prosecutor's Office of tunnel vision. "The prosecutors turned a blind eye on the real facts in this case," said Brooks.
Brooks said the statements made against her client by co-suspect C.E.F. were untrustworthy. She said her client had from the beginning stated to the police that they had "the wrong people." The prosecutors had added "theory to theory" to come to a conviction, she said.
For example, Brooks referred to quotes from C.A.R.'s Facebook page, which did not consist of death threats, as the Prosecutor's Office had suggested, but were in fact YouTube quotes from rap artistes.
Vaders said D.D.T. denied all allegations, except firearm possession. She said her client had not been involvement with murder or manslaughter.
The Prosecutor's Office accused him of having been on the lookout for the victim and of having stolen a vehicle that was used as a getaway car.
The trial will continue Thursday with Prosecutors Gonda van der Wulp and Bart den Hartigh responding to the lawyers' pleas and the second round of pleadings.
(The Daily Herald)