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Defense, Prosecution close cases in Rivers trial

William Ian Rivers sat sedately in the prisoners’s dock, twirling his glasses as his defense team and the Crown tried to tip Justice’s scale either for or against him.

According to the defense, Mr. Rivers was able to sit so quietly because of the medication that he was taking for his psychosis. This, they maintain was a long existing condition, exacerbated by the events leading up to the shooting on 28 January, 2017 and Mr. Rivers incarceration.

Defense attorney Crister Brady asked the jurors to consider how this condition might have diminished Mr. Rivers’s judgement. Mr Brady told the jury that the treatment of someone who killed when not in his right mind, could not and was not, under the law, the same thing as pre-meditated murder.

Mr. Brady also asked jurors to consider the medical evidence presented both by Dr. Bernard and Dr. Ajaz, which he said, are consistent and support a diagnosis of psychosis.

Crown prosecutor, Cheryll Richards Q.C., however, told the jury to consider all the evidence they had seen that Mr. Rivers had carefully calculated his defense of diminished capacity, from his behaviour during the 911 call, to his request that his family stay with him, to his motivations for shooting Mr. Seymour. All this in addition to his request for medication and his claims of auditory hallucinations that no one could independently verify.

She told jurors while they may be sympathetic to the circumstances leading Mr. Rivers to act the way he did, these were problems faced by everyone and were no justification for what he did.

She told jurors that Mr. Rivers had an anti-social personality disorder, a mental condition in its own right, but not enough to claim diminished capacity as Mr. Rivers did.

The trial is expected to continue on Monday (17 September) when Justice Frank Williams is expected to instruct the jurors after which they will retire to produce a verdict.

About the author

Natalie Briggs

Natalie Briggs

Natalie Briggs has worked in television, radio and print since 2002, including stints at Trinidad and Tobago Television (TTT/CNMG), Radio 97, The Trinidad Guardian and Newsday. She has an MA in Media, Communications and Public Relations.

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