Nicholi Rhys tried for Andre Trapp’s Murder Print E-mail
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Thursday, 07 February 2013 00:00

NicholiOn Monday, February 4th, Nicholi Rhys’ attorney, Simeon Sampson, presented a no case submission on his behalf who is being tried for the murder of Andre Trapp. On June 10th, 2010 Trapp was gunned down in broad daylight just after exiting the Belize City Magistrate’s Court. The case against Rhys is being tried without a jury and his fate will be decided by Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin.

In response to Sampson’s no case submission, the Director of Public Prosecutions, Cheryl Lynn Vidal maintained her position that while the evidence against the accused is circumstantial, the sequence of events that occurred leading to the execution style death of Andre Trapp points to Nicholi Rhys. In his no case submission, Sampson submitted that the identification of his client by PC Alrick Arnold should be classified as a fleeting glance because in his testimony, Arnold told the court that he had only seen Rhys for a few seconds.  Sampson further stated to the CJ that there is no evidence that Rhys was seen with a gun at the material time and that the Crown failed to prove the identity of the shooter.  

In a one hour submission, the DPP responded to the no case submission by going over the events that took place around the time of the murder. She said that prior to his death, Trapp was going towards his gold Suburban parked in the Magistrate’s Court Parking Lot.  He was then shot; he fell to the ground and that’s when PC Arnold who was escorting a prisoner came upon the scene.  He saw a green vehicle parked near Brodies’.  Arnold saw two people inside the getaway vehicle; one was sitting in the passenger side and he identified him that same day as the man who police captured minutes later, Rhys. Arnold fired a shot at the person who then ran towards the Bliss building, heading towards the Foreshore area.  The DPP urged the court to consider the fact that PC Arnold claims he was certain that the same person he had seen earlier exiting the green getaway vehicle was the same person the police were escorting whom he recognized as Rhys and that PC Arnold was of a sound mind and alert to the situation. She also said that not only was Rhys found in the area, but he was found hiding under a verandah in a crouched position. She further added that when all the pieces are put together, a favorable inference can be drawn that the accused is the person who committed the crime of murder.   

At 10 a.m. on Wednesday, February 6th, Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin struck out the defense’s no case submission and ruled that Nicholi Rhys had a case to answer to. The defense then presented its case. In a sworn testimony, Rhys told the court that at about 10 a.m. on the morning of June 10th, 2010, he was taking a walk along Southern Foreshore alone when upon reaching at the corner of Prince Street he heard what sounded like gunshots. As a result of the shots, he walked into Prince Street and entered a yard where he went to the back and stooped down.  At the time, he entered the yard no one was around.  He said he stayed there for 20 minutes or so and that’s when he heard officers.  He said when the three officers came, he was still in a crouched position. He said the officers told him to stand still and then he got up with his hands in the air. The officers had him in the yard for 15 minutes and one of the officers asked him about two guns.  He said he told them he did not know what they were talking about and that’s when the officers took him out of the yard.  He said two of the officers walked him into Regent Street, stopped with him in front of the Supreme Court and that’s where one of them stopped a mobile which took him to the Queen Street Police Station.

When the DPP asked him several questions under cross examination, Rhys maintained that he had no idea about any shooting incident in which Trapp was shot. The DPP’s first question to Rhys on the witness stand was what time he began his walk that morning and according to Rhys, he started to walk Southern Foreshore at about 10:00 a.m. This is just at the time that Trapp was gunned down.  When the DPP asked him what was the purpose of his walk that morning, Rhys said he was just walking as it is a usual thing to just walk on Southern Foreshore. When asked if he was familiar with the area, Rhys said no as he added he had no friends or relatives in the area. The DPP then asked Rhys if the shots he claimed he heard came from any specific area and he said no.  The DPP asked him why was it that his first reaction was to hide.  Rhys said he hid because he was only trying to secure himself. The DPP then suggested to him that he was running from the police that morning after he had shot up Andre Trapp multiple times in the Magistrate’s Court parking lot and that’s why he was found by police hiding in a stooping position. Rhys responded, “No Mam, I did no such thing like that; I was walking on Southern Foreshore alone.” He said he had no alibi witness for that morning since he was alone.
The CJ has reserved his ruling on the murder trial against Nicoli Rhys for Thursday, February 7th, at 2:00 p.m.