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Tuesday 19 February 2019
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State witness murdered

A STATE witness was shot dead at Dorata Street, Laventille, on Sunday night.

Barrymore Briggs was the State’s main witness against two prisons officers who were charged with the murder of prisoner Anton Cooper, who was found dead in his cell at the Golden Grove State Prison on June 26, 2001.

According to reports, at about 10.30 pm on Sunday, residents of Building Three, Dorata Street, Laventille, were alerted to gun shots.

On checking, they saw a man bleeding.

The man was rushed to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Officers of the Homicide Bureau contacted fingerprint officers and prints were taken from the man.

The prints were traced to State witness Barrymore Briggs.

Briggs was in prison at the Remand Section of the Golden Grove Prison on June 25, 2001, when he allegedly used a makeshift camera to witness the beating of Anton Cooper by prisons officers.

This camera was made up of a toothbrush with a sharpened end, with a small mirror attached to it by chewing gun or soap.

One such device was brought to court by Briggs during the murder trial and he gave a demonstration how it worked.

On day five of the trial Briggs said his version of what happened to Cooper was true and as far as he was concerned he was no longer a criminal. Briggs said then that he was in protective custody since the start of the trial.

He admitted that he started his life of crime at age 15, with his first offence being a charge of larceny.

His next brush with the law was in 1988 for firearm-related offences.

He admitted holding a gun in his past for protection.

Despite the evidence of Briggs on August 9, 2005 two prisons officers charged with Cooper’s murder were ordered to face a second trial after the jury in the first trial failed to reach an unanimous verdict.

The accused Devindra Ramlal and Ansen Griffith were charged with the murder of Cooper.

Justice Malcolm Holdip presided over the matter.

In 2006, the two officers were freed of the murder of Cooper at the end of the re-trial.

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