TRINIDAD AND TOBAGO. POLICEMAN SENTENCED TO HANG FOR MURDER
March 21, 2006: Constable Dave Burnett, a Trinidad and Tobago police officer with 13 years experience, was sentenced to hang after being found guilty of the murder.
of 18-year-old Kevin Cato at a fete. Burnett, 32, was found guilty of the murder of Cato, whom he shot dead on January 25, 2004. Another person, Ryan Solomon, was also shot and injured. The jury took nearly three-hours in reaching the guilty verdict against the policeman, who stood motionless as the sentence was read out.
But the mother of the deceased, Marilyn Cato told reporters that while she welcomed
the verdict she was not in agreement of the policemen being hanged.
"I have already lost a child and now another life is lost again. It is somebody's son. I would not like him to be sentenced to death. The Lord has handled it the way he should and our prayers have been answered," she said.
"But I don't have the law in my hand," she added.
The court was told that Cato and Solomon had gone to the party to celebrate the birthday of one of their friends when they were dancing and Solomon bumped into Burnett, who was on duty in plainclothes. Burnett was reported to have slapped Solomon and when he retaliated, the officer pulled out his service revolver and shot both men in their chests. Witnesses said that after the shooting, Burnett, bragged he was a police officer and challenged them "to do something". The jury rejected Burnett's claim that he had been attacked, and that he shot the men when he saw them with knives. (Sources: Caribbean Media Corporation via BBC Monitoring Newsfile, 22/03/2006)