by Linda Straker
Andre Thomas, a lawyer attached to the Franco Chambers law firm of which former Prime Minister Tillman Thomas is a major partner, is representing murder-accused Dave Benjamin.
Benjamin, who was recently released from prison after serving time for rape, is accused of raping and killing 39-year-old Jessica Colker, a US national who was vacationing in Grenada. The incident, according to police, happened during the mid-morning of Sunday, 24 January in the hilly area close to the La Sagesse Bay. He is facing a charge of capital murder and can receive the death sentence if found guilty.
Her husband, Dr Brian Van Melito, is one of 18 witnesses scheduled to take the witness stand during the preliminary hearing of the matter. A number of the witnesses are visitors who were guests at the La Sagesse Hotel where the couple was scheduled to stay for 2 nights, and the State began its preliminary hearing last week Friday with British National Andrew Hancock.
Mr Hancock concluded his statement of evidence on Monday after more than 4 hours on the witness stand. Colker’s husband is expected to resume giving his statement when the hearing continues on Friday, 5 February 2016.
Senior Crown Counsel attached to the Office of the Director of Public Prosecution Howard Pinnock, on Monday called for any person or persons who have evidence that can assist the State to build on its case against murder-accused Dave Benjamin, to come forward.
“Because we did not obtain a confession from the accused man, the evidence is circumstantial, and if anyone has any evidence that can assist us in building our case, we will like them to come forward,” said Pinnock, who is the prosecutor in the matter. He explained that whatever statement is obtained, the evidence will first be analysed to be determined if it can be admitted.
Also on Monday, the Court began the Preliminary Inquiry into the Linnea Veinotte case at the St George’s Number One Magistrate’s Court, with Magistrate Tamara Gill presiding. The Court heard from 4 witnesses in just over a 2-hour morning session, which included testimonies from Matt Veinotte, husband of the deceased; the person who found the injured dog, as well as Akim Frank’s former employer and one of his (Frank’s) brothers.
The matter is being prosecuted by Director of Public Prosecutor, Christopher Nelson QC. The inquiry will continue on Monday, 22 February 2016.