Double murder trial - Solomon Star News

Double murder trial

17 August 2018
Members of the public laying wreaths outside the Chinese couple's shop last year. [File Photo]


Witnesses identify two men in CCTV footage


TWO prosecution witnesses have identified the persons in the footage as the two men on trial for the murder of the Chinese business couple at their shop at Town Ground, west Honiara, in April last year.

The couple’s security guard Jimson Goufi and Raymond Keota are facing murder charges.

The evidences of these two witnesses were held in a closed court at the order of Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer following his concerns of the violent CCTV footages that were being shown in court during the trial.

Witness two (W2) told the court she used to work at a bottle shop that was also owned by the couple which was located in the same building (LGZ building).

She said the couple owned the bottle shop, shop and a Kai bar (restaurant) inside that same building.

W2 also told the court that the couple had two security guards who only worked during the day.

Asked by the prosecutor if she was aware when the security finishes work at the end of the day, W2 one said at 7pm.

She added that the security works from Monday to Saturday.

Asked if she knew Jimson Goufi, W2 said she knew him as she used to talk to him, made jokes with him and sent him to pay cigarettes.

She described the colour of the uniform shirt Goufi usually wear, which bears the name of the security firm he works for at the back and a badge in front of the shirt.

Public Prosecutor Margaret Suifa’asia asked W2 if she recalls 15 April 2017, which is on a Saturday and W2 said yes.

“I was working on that day at the bottle shop,” W2 said.

She said the bottle shop closed at 6pm and she clocked out before leaving the shop.

She said the store remain opened when she left and it was only the Kaibar and the bottle shop that were closed at 6pm.

“When I left the bottle shop, Jimson Goufi came into the shop,” she said.

Ms Suifa’asia then took W2 to 17 April 2017, which is on a Monday and a public holiday.

She said that morning all of them including Goufi, and another shop keeper were sitting at the culvert waiting for the shop to open.

She then asked the others as to why the shop was not yet open.

“It was 8.30am and they told me he (male deceased) has not yet opened the shop,

“I told them it is okay so that we can sit here for a bit and when the shop opens, we can work for a little before lunch time.”

W2 said by the time it is going up to 9am they started to make jokes about their boss saying he might have slept for good or may had an argument with his wife.

“By 10am, from Talon (Talon shop at town ground) we came back to the side of the shop.”

W2 said she asked if anyone of them knows the number of their boss’s friend named Patrick.

She said one of them gave them a number which she called and asked Patrick and asked him if he knew where their boss went.

“When we got there, Patrick arrived and I approached him and asked him if he knew where our boss went.

W2 testified that Patrick, some Agriculture officers, security and the girls tried knocking on the door, tried calling the phone and their bosses mobile number but no one answered.

She said they then started to wonder if there was a stealing happened and someone might have done something to them.

W2 told the court that they then asked Goufi to climb the gate and fence beside the bottle shop but he could not get over the fence.

The court heard Goufi then went and climbed over the fence beside the Kaibar and jumped into the area.

“We asked Goufi to go and see if the boss’s vehicle is there or not.

“Goufi came back and said the vehicle was there.

“Not long after we were still wondering what might have happened, Goufi opened the door at the Kaibar.”

“When it door opened, it was covered with blue flies,” W2 said.

She said when they saw that, they all screamed.

“Goufi then told us that the two of them are dead.

“But it was only the female in there (kitchen) but Goufi told us both were dead.”

W2 said they panicked when they heard that and she called the police who then came and made the assessment.

W2 was then shown the footages extracted from the CCTVs installed inside the building and outside of the building which showed a person coming in to the counter where the male deceased was standing and wrote on a book.

The footage then showed the first person walking back towards the main entrance before another person came and stood at the counter.

The second person was later seen jumping over the counter with a bush knife and then attacked the male deceased.

The female deceased was seen in the kitchen area and later seen running out before coming in back to the kitchen again with a person attacking her.

When asked if she could recognise anyone of the people in the footage, W2 said it was Goufi.

Goufi’s lawyer Michael Holara of the Public Solicitor’s Office however in cross-examination put to W2 if she agreed with him that the person in the footage was not Goufi, but W2 did not agree with him.

Keota was also identified by Witness 1 as one of the people attacking the couple in the footages shown in court.

W1 was related to Keota and lived in the same village as Keota.

Deputy Public Solicitor George Gray, who represents Keota, told W1 that on his statement, he said Keota that he saw on the CCTV wore a SB hat.

He then asked W1 to look at the footage; W1 said Keota wore a scarf and a hat with SB.

Mr Gray then questioned W1 if he had changed what he said from what he put on his statement, and W1 said no.

He then asked W1 again if he made a mistake on his first statement, and W1 said yes.

When asked again if the identity of Keota was mistaken, W1 said no.

WI said whether Keota wore a hat or a scarf, he had identified him by his face.

Mr Gray told W1 that when the police went to the village to arrest Keota, they had asked for John Keota and not Raymond Keota but W1 stood his ground saying he knew Keota when he saw the CCTV because they were from the same village.

The trial continues.