The trial of the infamous five allegedly involved in the heinous Bartica Massacre is scheduled to finally commence today after several delays – nearly one week after the jury was originally meant to be empanelled.
On October 12, the jury was scheduled to be empanelled, but this was postponed to October 13. However, as more pre-trial issues came up among the legal team, the trial was further delayed to October 17.
Today, once there are no more delays, the empanelling of the jury is expected to be done before Justice Roxanne George at the High Court.
More than 30 witnesses are expected to testify in the case, but it is expected that applications may be tendered for additional witnesses to offer evidence. The lead Prosecutor is Diana Kowlessar, while the other State representatives are Tuanna Hardy and Narissa Leander.
Mark Williams, Celbert Reece, Dennis Williams, Michael Caesar and Roger Simon are all facing 12 counts of murder, one count each of terrorism and unlawful wounding and three counts of break and enter and larceny. Number one accused Mark Williams is represented by Attorney Roger Yearwood, while the other Williams is being represented by Saphier Hussain, Reece by Madan Kissoon, Caesar by Maxwell McKay and Simon by Peter Hugh.
Last Wednesday, the five men accused of the brutal 2008 slaughtering of 12 persons made their first appearance at the High Court. They are accused of being among a heavily-armed gang, which attacked Bartica, leaving the 12 people, including three Policemen, dead. When the incident occurred, the Police had contended that now deceased Rondell “Fineman” Rawlins was the leader of the criminal gang.
Those killed in the devastating rampage were Irving Ferreira, Edwin Gilkes, Dexter Adrian, Lance Corporal Zaheer Zakir, Constable Shane Fredericks, Constable Ron Osborne, Deonarine Singh, Ronald Gomes, Ashraf Khan, Abdool Yasin, and Errol and Baldeo Singh on February 17, 2008, sending shockwaves throughout an already tense country.
On that fateful day, the gunmen had terrorised the town, overrunning the Bartica Police Station and robbing several business places during an hour-long attack. The massacre is widely believed to have been linked to the Lusignan Massacre, which had occurred just three weeks prior. In that January 26 attack, 11 persons lost their lives. Bartica co-accused Mark Williams is also implicated in the Lusignan Massacre.