Dec 13, 78 • 1615 • Georgetown-State • 4258

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[Agencies receiving informational copies on PDF]

O 131615Z DEC 78
FM AMEMBASSY GEORGETOWN
TO SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 8444
UNCLAS GEORGETOWN 4258
E.O. 12065: NA
TAGS: CARR, GY (PEOPLE’S TEMPLE), (LAYTON, LARRY)
SUBJ: W/W ARRESTS: LARRY LAYTON
REF: GEORGETOWN 4172

1. This morning the preliminary inquiry into the murders of Congressman Leo J. Ryan and four other persons (reftel) was postponed until tomorrow (12/13/78) by principal magistrate, Owen Fung-Kee-Fung. Fung-Kee-Fung said he did not want to start the inquiry at this time because he thought the hearing could not be completed by December 22, when he was scheduled to go on leave. Preliminary inquiry will determine if enough evidence exists to commit Layton to trial before the High Court.

2. Both prosecuting attorney, Nandram Kissoon and the senior defense counsel, Rex McKay stated in court that they wanted the inquiry to begin immediately and that they believed the hearing could be finished on December 22. Fung-Kee-Fung will presumably give his final decision on the matter at tomorrow’s session.

2. [3.] After court was adjourned, Kissoon held an informal press conference in the courtroom for Guyanese and overseas journalists. Charles Krause of the Washington Post told Kissoon that he (Krause) was present at the Port Kaituma airstrip during the shooting, but that he could not identify any of the

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assailants; Kissoon expressed interest in talking to Krause further on the subject at another time. In response to a question, Kissoon said that as far as he was concerned, any person now being detained would be free to leave Guyana as soon as he gave testimony at the preliminary inquiry. Such persons would, however, be expected to return to Guyana to give testimony before the criminal trial if needed. In response to another question, Kissoon added that he did not know under which section of Guyanese law the government of Guyana was detaining persons for the giving of testimony before the inquiry.

BURKE [John Buke, U.S. Ambassador to Guyana]

LIMITED OFFICIAL USE

Originally posted on March 24th, 2020.

Last modified on July 24th, 2022.
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