After 6 weeks of pleading its case to the court with nearly 18 witnesses, the prosecution closed its case in the Rodman Moses Lewis murder trial, on November 13, 2020.
Lewis, who is accused of the 3 November, 2015, murder of his ex-girlfriend and child’s mother, Tricia Riviere, pleaded not guilty to the crime at his arraignment on September 22, 2020.
The prosecution’s case began on October 6, 2020, with State Attorney, Sherma Dalrymple, leading the matter which is being heard by a five-man, four-woman jury with presiding Judge, Justice Wynante Adrien-Roberts.
Legal challenges by Defense Counsel, Anthony Commodore and counter arguments Dalrymple occupied most of the courts time in the last few weeks. However, during the final week of the prosecution’s case, four witnesses were called to the stand including Bertillia Bethel, translator, Police Constables Johnson Bannis and Etiene Reid and Elizabeth George, a clerk at the Magistrate’s Court to provide evidence that the Pathologist, Yaima Breuchus Muniz had performed the autopsy on the deceased and had left island thereafter on November 6, 2017, and has yet to return since.
Which permission from the court, George read the post mortem report from Dr. Breuchus Muniz which stated that Riviere died as a result of traumatic shock due to multiple injuries to her head. The autopsy further revealed blunt force trauma such as crush of brain and fracture of the neck with associated injuries to her face which was severely distorted. The report further stated her left eye and head were deformed whilst there was severe skull trauma.
On the final day of the prosecution’s case, Sate Attorney Dalrymple, called Magistrate Michael Laudat to the stand who was the Police Prosecutor for the matter during Preliminary Inquiry.
Earlier in the case, throughout his testimony, Investigating Officer for the matter, Sergeant Chaucer James had told the court that along with Laudat he had visited the exhibit room following the passage of Hurricane Maria where the evidence was stored about which Defense Attorney, Commodore, expressed concern.
However in his testimony, Laudat stated the reason why such action was carried out of the presence of the accused or his attorney was because, after Hurricane Maria in 2017, he became aware that the exhibit room was severely compromised, and under instructions from Magistrate Bernard Pacquette, an inspection of the room was carried out and later some of the exhibits which were compromised were repackaged.
The matter will resume today at 9:00 a.m., when the defendant will get an opportunity to present a defense.
The accused will have three options to choose from: to give evidence on oath from the witness-box and be liable to cross-examination like any other witness; to make an unsworn statement from the prisoner’s dock and thereby escape from cross-examination, or, to remain silent.