Home News 29 criminal cases disposed of during January Demerara Assizes
The January 2019 Assizes in Demerara came to an end last Friday when Justice Navindra Singh held the Goal Delivery. At the end of this session, a total of 29 cases were completed.
The first session for the year began on January 8 with a total of 260 cases listed to be heard before presiding Justices Singh, James Bovell-Drakes and Jo-Ann Barlow.
Of these 29 matters heard, 28 were presented in the High Court of Demerara by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), while one was nolle prosequi (not prosecuted).
Of these 28 cases presented, 13 were for the offence of murder, one was for the offence of manslaughter, and 14 were for sexual offences. There were six guilty pleas, seven convictions, nine not-guilty verdicts by jury, five formal verdicts of not guilty, and one hung jury.
Of the 28 cases presented in the High Court, 12 were prosecuted by State Counsel Tuanna Hardy, Abigail Gibbs and Teriq Mohammed before Justice Navindra Singh. Of these 12 cases, 10 were murder trials, which saw four accused pleading guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and being sentenced to 14, 16, 12 and a half, and 20 years’ imprisonment respectively.
In another three murder trials, the juries returned unanimous verdicts of guilty, and the accused were respectively sentenced to 30 years, 100 years and 80 years imprisonment. One of these accused was found guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter. The other three murder cases saw the accused persons being acquitted.
In the one case for manslaughter before Justice Singh, a no case submission was upheld.
Additionally, there was one case in which the accused was charged for engaging in sexual activity with a child by abusing a position of trust. That accused was sentenced to 45 years’ imprisonment after he was found guilty by a unanimous jury.
Meanwhile, a total of 13 sexual offences cases were prosecuted by State Counsel Lisa Cave, Seeta Bishundial and Sarah Martin in the Sexual Offences Court before Justice Barlow.
In three of those sexual offences cases, the trial judge directed the juries to return formal verdicts of not guilty, because the complainants did not attend court or testified that they did not wish to proceed with the evidence against the accused.
In another case, the accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment; while another accused was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment after he was, by the jury, found guilty of two counts of having engaged in sexual activity with a child family member. Five other cases resulted in the accused being acquitted by jury verdicts of not guilty.
There was also one hung jury in a case of rape of a child under 16 years. In two other matters, the juries returned guilty verdicts for both accused, and probation reports were ordered to be presented on April 5, when the two accused will be sentenced.
Additionally, State Counsel Tamieka Clarke and Tiffini Lyken completed three murder trials before Justice Bovell-Drakes.
In two of these matters, the accused were both acquitted by jury verdicts of not guilty. While in the one other case, the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
For the one matter that was nolle prosequi by the DPP, the accused was indicted for attempting to commit murder, discharging a loaded firearm with lntent, wounding with lntent, unlawful possession of ammunition and setting fire to a public building. The indictment was nolle prosequi pursuant to a Court Order granted on October 13, 2017 by a High Court Judge and entered on October 17, 2017, but which was never served on the DPP.
Nevertheless, the April Criminal Assizes in Demerara will commence on Tuesday April 2, 2019. Justices Singh and Bovell-Drakes will return to preside over this session, and will be joined by Justice Brassington Reynolds. The April session has a total of 259 cases listed to be heard.
On the other hand, between January and March, the DPP appeared in six matters before the Court of Appeal. The State was represented by Assistant DPP Dionne Mc Cammon, Assistant DPP Teshana Lake, and Senior State Counsel Natasha Backer, Orenthia Schmidt and Narissa Leander.
Of these six appellants, two had their applications to appeal against conviction and sentence dismissed; one other was granted his application for extension of time to appeal, while one appellant withdrew her application to appeal against her conviction and sentence.
The State was allowed its application to appeal against an acquittal in a murder case, while the Appeal Court reserved its decision in one appeal against conviction and sentence.
Meanwhile, the Demerara Full Court sat five times during these three months. Three applications were withdrawn, while two appellants were allowed their applications and had their convictions and sentences set aside.