22 Mar 2007

Marshalls murder trial clouded by police abuse

1:43 pm on 22 March 2007

A Marshall Island teenager charged with first-degree murder for allegedly killing her baby and throwing the body in a rubbish dump in Majuro last year will go to trial next week on the heels of two important court rulings that favour her defense.

In a related criminal case, a police captain charged with sexually abusing the teenage girl last year while she was in jail awaiting her trial will also go to trial in early May.

High Court Chief Justice, Carl Ingram, has ruled that all statements made by the 17-year-old to police after her arrest cannot be used at trial for any purpose.

According to police as reported in the local press at the time, the teenager confessed to killing her baby.

In another ruling for the defense, Justice Ingram rejected a motion from the Attorney General's office that sought to have the teenager stand trial as an adult.

Justice Ingram said trying her as an adult would make her liable for the full penalty of these felony charges if she is found guilty; minors are subject to less severe sentencing and are also shielded from having their names used in the media.