Tuesday 28th September, 2004

 

Former cop freed of double murder

Judge calls for probe into ex-wife’s confession

 
 
 
 
 
G-Spot
Sunshine Magazine
 
Letters
Online Community
Death Notices
 
Advertising
Classified Ads
Jobs in T&T
Contact Us
 
Archives
Privacy Policy
 
 
 

 

Sr Paul Clarke of Sacred Heart RC Church hugs former police constable Ronald Doorgadeen outside the Hall of Justice yesterday after he was freed. Centre is Doorgadeen’s mother.
Photo: Brian Ng Fatt

By Denyse Renne

After spending seven years and seven months in prison, Roland “Bobby” Doorgadeen, a former policeman, was acquitted yesterday of the murder of a Canadian couple, after a dramatic confession by his ex-wife that she had fabricated her evidence.

However, the admission by Nicole Doorgadeen was strongly chastised by Justice Melville Baird, who called for an investigation into her allegations that she was threatened and pressured into giving evidence by the police.

“This is one of the most bizarre sittings I have ever had,” he said.

“All the statements she gave to the police and evidence at the first trial, all the evidence was fabricated and came about because the police pressured her to testify.

“The government of Canada and the police wanted action.

“My friend said that this leaves much to be desired and I think this is an understatement of the year.

“This cannot end here, we cannot leave the matter there.”

Baird said the allegations made were “grave and weighty.”

He said the matter should be investigated, since the allegations against the police had to be investigated.

“If what she said they did is not true, they should be given the chance to defend themselves,” he said.

“Let there be an investigation into this matter. Let us see who is speaking the truth,” he added, before calling on the jury to return a not-guilty verdict.

Doorgadeen, 38, formerly of Princes Town, was charged with murdering Canadians Geoffrey Barnes, a 23-year-old part-time computer programming teacher, and his four-month-pregnant wife Sherelle Ann, 22, between May 8 and 12, 1994.

Their bodies were found on Delmare beach, Blanchisseuse.

Last year, a retrial was ordered by Justice Herbert Volney after a jury had failed to reach a unanimous decision.

Attorneys Ravi Rajcoomar, Prakash Ramadhar and Ian Ibrahim represented Doorgadeen, while Angelica Teelucksingh and Wayne Rajbansie appeared for the State.

‘I lied because I was threatened’

The ex-wife of a former police officer yesterday broke down in tears in the witness box as she admitted she had fabricated evidence against him because she was threatened by police.

Nicole Doorgadeen was being led into evidence by State attorney Wayne Rajbansie at the retrial of Roland “Bobby” Doorgadeen at Port-of-Spain First Criminal Court.

Bobby Doorgadeen was charged with the murders of Canadians Geoffrey and Sherelle Ann Barnes, between May 8 and 12, 1994.

Nicole Doorgadeen had on numerous occasions said her husband had admitted to her he was responsible for the double murders.

However, a teary-eyed Doorgadeen said she had matters pending in court for fraud, and was told by police they would revoke her bail if she did not co-operate.

“And my kids will be in foster care, since I will be prison,” she said.

“I also received a lot of threats and they said I will be shot and killed and could be jointly charged with the murders.”

Doorgadeen said the police also called her mother in Montreal, Canada, and said she could be charged.

She admitted that the statement she gave to Justice of the Peace Ralph Khan on April 8,1998, was not true.

“The police kept coming all the time and said I will be put in prison and that my life and my kids were in danger, since it was us alone,” Doorgadeen said.

She said the police also offered to get her fraud charges thrown out of court, “if I gave evidence, and I will also be given money to start over my life.”

Doorgadeen also admitted that evidence given in Port-of-Spain Magistrate’s Court and the High Court was lies.

She said the statements she gave on April 6 and August 19, 1998, were fabricated because of the threats.

“I am very sorry,” a sobbing Doorgadeen said.

“I could not take the risk of being in prison and my children being alone.

“Since my husband went to prison, my family had deserted me and I live with my girls alone.”

At this point, Rajbansie reminded the jury of his earlier submissions that the State’s case was founded on Doorgadeen’s evidence and her statements “left much to be desired.”

“But it would be public policy and administration of justice for the State to hold the witness as a reliable one,” Rajbansie said.

“The State now views the witness as being unreliable, and in these circumstances, the State cannot proceed any further.”

Rajbansie then advised Justice Melville Baird to discharge the accused.

One of the attorneys representing the accused, Ravi Rajcoomar, told the court he was in agreement with Rajbansie “legally and morally.”

“What is frightening is that in January 2003, this matter went to the jury and they were very close to a verdict of guilty.

“Thank God there is no case to answer.”

 

©2003-2004 Trinidad Publishing Company Limited

Designed by: Randall Rajkumar-Maharaj · Updated daily by: Sheahan Farrell