April 28, 2015
Judgment in the “Section 174” applications has been delivered. You’ll recall the defense launched the applications as soon as the state closed its case, asking the court to set the three accused free.
In essence, lawyers for Carrington Laughton and his co-accused, Carel and David Ranger, argued that the state has failed to make out a case; that the chain of evidence is broken; the witnesses against them are unreliable (“pathetic” was a word used); and that the trial has not been fair.
Fighting back, prosecutors argued the chain of evidence is intact and that while the witnesses were not perfect, they corroborated each other on key aspects of the case and were not manipulated in any way. They reminded the court about the DNA evidence and the handwriting analysis and accused the defense of making “quantum leaps” of reasoning.
Judge Natvarial Ranchod took just a minute or two to deliver his ruling, having thought about the arguments over a long weekend. Laughton and the Ranger brothers each faced eight counts. The judge discharged Laughton on three of these (two were conspiracy charges and one related to an earlier kidnapping of Betty Ketani). He also swept aside all but two of the charges which the Rangers faced.
All three accused, however, still have to answer to the two main charges against them, namely the kidnapping and the murder of Betty Ketani.
And so the trial enters its final phase, where the defense presents its case. Three years after the discovery of the confession under the carpet and his arrest, Laughton has stepped into the witness box to tell his side of the story….
Follow the trial on: @alexeliseev