Voice messages in murder inquiry

For the first time in this country, voice messages have been tendered in court as evidence against a man accused of murder in a preliminary inquiry.

Three voice messages, left on the Nokia phone of the victim’s girlfriend by the accused, were extracted by police from the phone’s SIM card using a special software called Pure Voice.

The messages were tendered into evidence in the Port-of-Spain Eighth Magistrates’ Court as audio files saved on a CD-ROM. Also on the CD-ROM were seven digital photographs, as well as a special forensics report of the phone compiled using Cell DEK software.

The phone had initially been examined by PC Daniel Hernandez, of the Analysis Unit of the Homicide Bureau and yesterday he told the court how he used special software to extract the three messages and then saved them on a CD-ROM.

This CD, which also contains several other files, was submitted to Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls yesterday when the murder inquiry in which Marlon Skerritt is charged came up before him.

The CD was played, and the court heard the three voice recordings which lasted one minute and seven seconds, 49 seconds, and 39 seconds each.

The accused looked on in silence from the prisoners’ dock, as the audio filled the courtroom.

Skerritt, of Block 22, Bain Quarry, Laventille, is alleged to have murdered bartender Lester Matooram, 24, just outside the Princess Club casino on Independence Square on July 22.

He is also alleged to have stabbed Matooram’s girlfriend Treasure Ash.

The inquiry has already seen its share of historic firsts. On December 11, State prosecutor Randall Hector tendered a DVD containing digital video footage showing the actual commission of a murder.

Yesterday also marked another first, with the court being shown 30 text messages from the phone of Ash, which was also extracted from her Nokia bmobile phone using special software.

The matter continues next Monday.

Commenting last month on the State’s willingness to adopt new means of presenting evidence against accused persons, Director of Public Prosecutions Geoffrey Henderson noted, “we are more and more in our cases employing the use of objective forms of evidence in order to institute proceedings.”


"Voice messages in murder inquiry"

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