Justice Nigel Pilgrim to hand down verdict in case against Attorney Oscar Selgado

Justice Nigel Pilgrim to hand down verdict in case against Attorney Oscar Selgado

Friday, March 8 is the day set for Justice Nigel Pilgrim to hand down his decision in the case against Attorney Oscar Selgado.  Selgado’s trial in the High Court had to do with a charge of abetment to commit murder.  Today, saw the closing arguments by both the defence and the prosecution.  Perhaps the most interesting part of the arguments had to do with the missing evidence.  When the story had just surfaced back in 2019, there was a recording that was handed over to the Police Department by the key witness, Giovanni Ramirez.  The recording was said to be between Selgado and Ramirez, and entailed a conversation where Selgado was hiring Ramirez to kill one, Marilyn Barnes.  Sometime between 2019 and when the trial began, the recording disappeared, and could not be presented as evidence.  Selgado’s attorney, Adolph Lucas Junior, argued this morning that aside from the deficiencies in the witness statements of former police inspector, Wilfredo Ferrufino and Commissioner of Police, Chester Williams, there was the failure on the part of the prosecution, to present the recording.   Lucas noted that had the proper court procedures been followed, the original recording would have been available.  He therefore concluded that the recordings never existed in the first place.  In her closing submission, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl-Lyn Vidal, said that the evidence presented to the court, when taken as a whole, proves that Selgado had indeed hired Ramirez to kill Barnes. Vidal stressed that even though Ramirez did not testify for fear of his life, there was enough supporting evidence to show he was telling the truth. She pointed to Ramirez’s intimate knowledge of the complaint Barnes had made about Selgado, information she says could only have been provided by Selgado himself.  The media met up with DPP Vidal after court.

Cherylin Vidal, Director of Public Prosecution: “I don’t think there were any surprises from the other side in terms of what we expected them to come to say. We wouldn’t have been prosecuting him if we didn’t think that there was a likelihood that he would be convicted. Those are ordinary words used in directions to judges, to juries when considering evidence. Giovanni Ramirez did not actually come to testify, he didn’t go into the box and give his testimony and he wasn’t cross examined so of course the judge is being asked to rely a written statement that has not been tested by cross examination so the judge has to approach it with caution that does not mean that he cannot rely on it and in this case as you would have seen from following it there are so many aspects of that statement that have been independently confirmed so our argument was that of course the judge can reach the position that he can safely rely on the statement.”

The background to the charge against Attorney Selgado has to do with a complaint made against him to the General Legal Counsel.  The complaint, which is of a sexual nature against an intern in the Office of the Ombudsman, was reportedly made by Marilyn Barnes; the woman Selgado reportedly wanted killed.  As for the lost evidence, there is documentation that the Cybercrimes Unit of the Police Department had extracted the footage from a cell phone.  There is also a trail in 2021 that shows the Registrar General of the High Court receiving the envelope that contained CDs, and that presumably held the recording.  Two years later, however, in February 2023, the CDs were no longer in evidence.

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