Judgement on double murder next - Solomon Star News

Judgement on double murder next

21 August 2018
Relatives of the murdered Chinese couple with their portraits during a remembrance parade ceremony in 2017. [File Photo]

The fate of the two men accused of the murder of the Chinese business couple at their shop at Town Ground, west Honiara in April last year, will be known next in the High Court.

This followed the closing submissions made by the defence and the prosecution on the matter of Jimson Goufi and Raymond Keota, before Chief Justice Sir Albert Palmer, Monday.

Sir Albert after hearing the submissions reserved his judgment.

A date for the judgment will be made known to both counsels at a time when Sir Albert will be ready to hand it down.

The trial into the double murder that occurred on the evening of 15 April 2017 at the LGZ building at Town Ground started with a voir dire (trial within a trial) hearing.

Goufi, the couple security had contested the admission he made to police during an interview with the police after he was arrested.

He claimed he was threatened, his right to silence was not given and that he was not cautioned properly while the two interviewing police officer on the other hand denied those allegations.

Sir Albert in his ruling did not accept the grounds submitted by the defence to challenge the Record of Interview.

He then ruled that Goufi’s admission will be used as part of the Crown’s evidence.

Goufi maintained his not guilty plea after the ruling.

Crown had tendered the more than 20 witnesses’ statements and had called an IT personal, two Chinese nationals plus nine other witnesses.

Among those witnesses are two prosecution’s crucial witness who identified those two accused from the CCTV footages and images.

The defence did not call any other witnesses apart from the two accused who gave their evidence in court.

Goufi gave unsworn evidence from the dock while Keota gave sworn evidence from the witness box.

They both denied involving in the double murder, saying they were at their respective homes at the time of the alleged offending and that the two people in the CCTV footages and images were not them.

Footages that were extracted from the Closed-Circuit television (CCTV) cameras inside and outside of the LGZ building were screened during the trial.

Sir Albert having allowed the public in the court room gallery however had raised concerns regarding the footages that were being screened in court which were too violent.

This was in relation to the footages of the knife attack on the couple inside the building.

Both the prosecution and the defence want the public to see those footages that were being screened on two large LCD screens and computers used by counsels inside the court room.

One of the defence counsels highlighted to the court the need for the public to view those footages and images as there were being confusions among the public, about this case.

Deputy Public Solicitor George Gray said as the defence counsels representing the two accused, he wants the public, especially the two accused’s relatives to view the scenes of the CCTV footages given the sensitive nature of this case.

Mr Gray added that as defence counsels and the sensitivity nature of this case, they want the public to view the scenes of the CCTV footages.

Having allowed only one day for the public to view those footages, Sir Albert then ordered the court proceedings be held in a closed court the following day.

He said this was because those same footages will be screened repeatedly to witnesses, especially the two crucial crown witnesses who identified the two accused from the CCTV footages and images.

The trial then ended on Friday last week.