Slain prosecutor’s brother attends court ‘Dana’s presence felt’

OMAR SEETAHAL, younger brother of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal said yesterday he felt her presence during the appearance of 11 men, charged with murdering her, in the Port-of- Spain Magistrates’ Court.
The 11 are Rajaee Ali, his brother Hamid Ali, Devaughn Cummings, Ricardo Stewart, Earl Richards, Stephan Cummings, Ishmael Ali, Kevin Parkinson, Leston Gonzales, Roget Boucher and Gareth Wiseman.
Seetahal was ambushed and shot dead at Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook on May 4 last year, minutes after leaving the Ma Pau Casino in Woodbrook. She was on her way to her One Woodbrook Place apartment home a short distance away.
In an interview moments after he left the courtroom yesterday, Seetahal said his sister was one who lived and fought for justice all her life and the family is hoping justice will be served in her matter.
He said neither him, nor any of his other relatives, are making any pronouncements on the guilt or innocence of those appearing before the court. “We at this stage, do not know what evidence the prosecution intends to put forward and we do not know what matters are going to be presented by the defence,” Omar said.
He is, however, happy to see that some progress has been made.
“We are looking forward to true justice. Because Dana wasn’t just about securing convictions but justice.” Outside the court from as early as 6 am, there was a virtual lockdown around the perimeter pf the court. The free flow of traffic was restricted along sections of St Vincent Street, Knox Street, Duke Street and Abercromby Street and security was at its maximum with dozens of heavily armed officers.
Several soldiers were also strategically placed at vantage points within the nearby Red House which, exactly 25 years ago, was the scene of an attempted coup by members of the Jamaat al Muslineen led by Imam Yasin Abu Bakr. Only attorneys, members of the media, court staff and relatives of the accused were allowed access to the precincts of the court.
Supporters of the men were kept at bay behind barricades on either end of St Vincent Street.
At 9.01 am, members of the media were informed by police officers that the prisoners were on their way and instructions were given to remain behind a barrier some distance away from where the prisoners were to be offloaded.
Minutes later, a total of seven police vehicles with sirens blaring arrived in front the court followed by three prison vehicles, one a panel van, transporting the accused men.
One of the men shouted from the van to reporters: “Allyuh, ah cyah breathe in here boy. If they transfer a dog in America in this (van) is a charge.
This is what they transporting humans in?” Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard SC arrived at about 9.25 am and briskly made his way into the court.
Also seen entering the courtroom was Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Imam Yasin Abu Bakr, one of his wives Indrani Abu Bakr, son Fuad Abu Bakr and Imam Hassan Ali, father of Rajaee Ali.
Very little happened in the hours following. Reporters were informed at about 11.45 am that the matter was stood down to 12.30 pm to allow for the arrival of other accused persons in the matter.
By 1.30 pm, officers of the Court and Process Unit of the Police Service were escorting the accused out of court and back into the vans.
Teary-eyed women emerged from the courtroom, accompanied by Bakr, and made their way down St Vincent Street. The 11 accused will return to court on August 24.


"Slain prosecutor’s brother attends court ‘Dana’s presence felt’"

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