Prison Officer Louis Cupid, who is facing charges of conspiracy in connection with murder accused Veron Primus’ escape from Her Majesty’s Prison, Kingstown between September 30 and October 1, 2019, admitted that he assisted Primus in making the dash.
This is according to a statement read in evidence during the trial at the Serious Offences Court on Monday.
According to the document which was read by Sergeant Biorn Duncan of the Major Crime Unit (MCU), Cupid said, “I assisted him, but I did not take him out the cell. He told me that he wanted to go out and that he wanted to escape.”
According to the statement, Cupid said he did not give Primus a positive answer, but during his shift on the night prior to the morning when Primus was discovered missing, Primus asked him if he was going to assist him in getting out. He informed Primus about the tight security there at the time, and told him to walk through the vestibule.
“I did not give him no key to open no cell or to leave, but I know that he was going to leave,” Cupid said, according to the statement.
His lawyer Grant Connell objected to the document being admitted into evidence, on the grounds that his client was physically abused by the lead investigator Assistant Superintendent of Police Elgin Richards, who heads the Major Crime Unit.
Connell also challenged the document on the basis that the statement was taken from notes that Sergeant Biorn Duncan had taken while speaking to Cupid, and what Duncan had read back to Cupid was what he (Duncan) wrote. He questioned why Cupid was not given the option of writing his own statement.
Connell said parts of the statement was not even clear and it did not have a third signature. He also argued that there were inconsistencies in the evidence of Sergeant Duncan and Corporal Millington regarding the time the process lasted.
Connell’s objection was overruled by Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne following a voidire (trial within a trial).
Cupid is charged that between September 29 and October 2, 2019, being employed in St. Vincent and the Grenadines as a prison officer did abuse the authority of his office, an arbitrary act prejudicial to the right of the Superintendent of Prisons, to wit, conspired to aid in the escape of Veron Primus from lawful custody. He is also charged with conspiring with Primus to the commission of the offence of escaping lawful custody.
A number of prison officers has already testified at the trial which is ongoing at the Serious Offences Court.
Evidence from one prison officer revealed that the key to Primus’ cell could not be accounted for on the morning of October 1, 2019, and a chisel and hammer had to be used to forcibly remove the lock. When the prison officers entered the cell, Primus was discovered missing. He turned himself in about 3 pm the same day, accompanied by attorney Jomo Thomas.
Primus appeared in Court the following day, pleaded guilty to escaping lawful custody and was sentenced to 16 months in prison.