From the Courts
December 10, 2004
Lokeisha’s murder case underway

The trial of Patrick Lovelace accused of the July 2002 murder of 12-year-old Lokeisha Nanton was scheduled to continue yesterday with star witness Romona Caruth on the witness stand.

Caruth was among 12 prosecution witnesses called up Wednesday in the trial that got underway last Friday at the High Court. {{more}}She started giving evidence Monday. On Tuesday she fell ill while on the witness stand under cross examination and was allowed two days to recuperate while other witnesses gave evidence.

Lokeisha’s murder had shocked the nation when her naked body was found hanging from a mango tree near the London Road leading to Cane Garden. After just over one year of investigations, 36-year-old Patrick Lovelace of Belmont was arrested and charged.

During cross examination by defence lawyer Vinette Fredrick, Caruth admitted she had lied in a number of witness statements to police. She said she lied on July 6, 2002, when she named two persons as perpetrators of the murder, none of whom was Patrick Lovelace. She also said she had lied on July 8 when she named two other persons in her statement and gave police their addresses.

The murder trial started last Friday after a pre-trial hearing last week.

The pre-trial hearing began before the High Court as a result of a motion brought by Bayliss Fredrick, lawyer for the accused Patrick Lovelace who claimed that the wide coverage carried by the press before the trial would have tainted, poisoned and prejudiced the minds of jurors, and his client will not be given a fair trial.

Fredrick requested that the trial be delayed until the memories of the publicised murder fade in the minds of jurors.

But, acting Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams called the defence’s application frivolous and without merit. He cited the Dole Chadee murder trial in Trinidad, which received wider coverage, and which the court had referred to as fallacious, but which was allowed to go on.

The DPP also cited the Albert Browne murder which had received wider coverage than the Lokeisha Nanton matter. He noted that the accused in the Browne murder, Daniel Compay Trimmingham, had received much more publicity than Lovelace, yet no one had complained about pretrial publicity.