It’s been nearly 15 years since six-year-old Sean Locke was murdered in a cane field in the back of his home in Orange Valley, Cova.
The two men accused of his murder have not yet been tried.
Achilles Mitchell and Richard Chateaux were expected to face a judge in November / December, when trial time was set aside.
However, an issue arose in the case that could affect the possible trial date. Mitchell’s attorneys demanded that the trial against him be stopped due to a case that might harm his fair trial.
In the application filed last November, attorney Mario Merritt requested that the indictment be suspended because the attorney general in charge of the case represented Mitchell in the preliminary investigation in the Magistrate’s Court.
The defense brought this to the judge’s attention. At first, the attorney general indicated that he could not recall, and ultimately admitted that the allegation was correct.
New prosecutors were appointed, but Merritt went ahead with his request, saying that he did not know the information the previous prosecutor might have shared with the new prosecution team of Sabrina Dogden Jaglal and Anjou Bhula.
The case was raised again for hearing on Thursday before Judge Lisa Ramsmere-Hinds, who acknowledged that these were unusual circumstances, but the court felt it was prudent to attend cases cautiously to allow the parties to formally say what they need.
“It’s a serious enough case to stop,” she said.
Merritt was given until Monday to provide his responses to the prosecution’s response to his request. Then it’s up to you to hear it on that date, when it is possible to set a timetable for a new way forward.
Evans Welsh, Chato’s attorney, indicated that he was awaiting a court ruling on Mitchell’s request to determine his client’s next move.
Although Merritt said that even if the case against his client was stopped, the state could still proceed with its prosecution with Welch’s client, Welch disagreed that the case against the two could be continued separately.
“What happens to accused number one can have an impact on the second accused.”
He said he wanted an opportunity to show why this was affecting his client.
Both Mitchell and Chateaux were minors when they were arrested for the murder of Locke on March 26, 2006, whose body was found two days after his disappearance.
It was only when the trial reached court that they were old enough to be named.
The hearing was held on roughly Thursday, in line with the court’s covid19 rules, which limit in-person hearings and do not require inmates to be brought to court. However, the command was assigned to San Fernando Assizes. In 2011, the Director of Public Prosecutions refused a request from the defense to move the trial to the Hall of Justice in Port of Spain.
An autopsy showed that Locke, a US citizen, died of internal bleeding when a cane leg was inserted into his body.