Whyte’s coroner’s inquest gets underway
From the Courts
December 3, 2013
Whyte’s coroner’s inquest gets underway

The long anticipated coroner’s inquest into the death of customs guard Othneil Whyte began last week.{{more}}

The hearing, which got underway last Thursday at the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown, however, came to a halt on Friday, the second day of testimony, when the matter was adjourned “sine die”.

According to the prosecutor, Inspector Adolphous Delplesche, the matter was adjourned indefinitely, pending the arrival of the Venezuelans who have been included on the list of 23 persons to give testimony in the matter to determine who, if anyone, is responsible for the death of Whyte.

Eight witnesses gave evidence on Thursday, including the deceased man’s son Abdon Whyte; Dr Ronald Child – the doctor who administered the post mortem; Hethlon Pollard, the water taxi operator who took Whyte and Garth DeShong, the Rapid Response Unit (RRU) officer out to the Venezuelan vessel, and Seneca McIntosh, a customs guard who was at the time stationed on Union Island.

Dexter Froger, who was on the wharf at the time of the incident, and Alvin Williams also testified on the first day, with Williams saying that he was making his way home to Chattam Bay around dusk, on his boat, around the time of the tragic incident.

Investigating officer Corporal Bion Duncan was among those who testified on Friday. Also testifying were Sergeants Atland Browne and Garth DeShong, before the matter was adjourned.

The family of the deceased man have been calling for the preliminary inquiry for some time. They are represented by attorney Emery Robertson Snr. The family has been seeking answers about the incident that claimed the life of the customs guard. Three Venezuelans, who were shot and killed during a reported shoot-out aboard the vessel “El Amigo Fay” also lost their lives during the incident.

Othneil Whyte’s death was ruled as death by drowning after his body was fished out of the water hours after the June 3, 2012 incident. Whyte was unaccounted for following a shootout between the RRU officer and the Venezuelans on the vessel. (DD)