5 convicts in Berbice carpenter’s murder sentenced to 66 years in prison each
…“This was a brutal murder” – Justice Singh
Two months after they were found guilty of the gruesome murder of 26-year-old father of two Faiyaz Narinedatt, five men were on Monday, each sentenced to 66 years’ imprisonment for the crime, with parole eligibility not before 25 years.
The custodial sentence was imposed by High Court Judge Navindra Singh on Orlando Dickie, 45, Radesh Motie, 46, 18-year-old Diodath Datt, Harri Paul Parsram, 57, and Niran Yacoob.
Following their trial at the High Court in Berbice on November 4, 2022, the quintet was convicted of the capital offence by a jury of their peers in relation to the death of Narinedatt, which happened between October 31 and November 1, 2016.
During a plea in mitigation on the men’s behalf, their lawyer Arudranauth Gossai urged the Judge to sentence them in keeping with applicable provisions of the Criminal Law (Offences) Act, which is to life in prison or another term the court deems appropriate, being not less than 15 years.
Acknowledging that a young life was lost, Gossai submitted that the role of a sentencing court is not only to punish the offender but also to seek avenues of rehabilitation for that person.
“I humbly beg that you [Justice Singh] exercise your mercy that the sentence will reflect punishment for the offence and the rehabilitation of the convicted person. I implore you not to impose a life sentence but a term of years,” Gossai told the court. The lawyer further told the court that his clients have the potential of being rehabilitated.
For her part, Special Prosecutor Latchmie Rahamat said that there are limited to no mitigating factors that could persuade the court to exercise its discretion in relation to sentencing. “The attack was violent,” Prosecutor Rahamat reminded, as she rehashed the evidence.
Highlighting the severity of the beating Narinedatt sustained at the hands of the five men, the Special Prosecutor pointed to the now dead man’s cause of death, which was listed as the following: cerebral hemorrhage with multiple skull fractures, fractured spleen, ruptured spleen and liver, and a fractured arm together with pulmonary pulsation.
According to her, because of the extent and severity of the beating Narinedatt received together with the listing of five causes of death, the maximum sentence should be imposed.
“It ah pain muh heart”
The dead man’s mother, in her victim impact statement, could not hold back tears. “It’s not easy for me, it ah pain muh heart,” she cried as she spoke of Narinedatt, her only child.
Directing her remarks at the convicted men, the grieving woman said: “We all a village people. Ayo shudda think twice before ayo hurt my son. Ayo destroyed muh life. I can never be happy again don’t matter what meh do. One child meh had in meh life…”
The woman disclosed that she knew four of the men who beat her son and that they had came to her home on October 31, 2016, and called out to her son for him to accompany them to catch iguanas. “Them brutal meh son,” Narinedatt’s crying father expressed as she implored Justice Singh to punish the convicts for senselessly taking his son’s life.
When given a chance to address the court, Dickie said, “I would like to say my humble sympathies to the parents for their loss. I have never been in any crime; I have six children. I am not a threat to society. I will keep saying I am sorry for their loss. I am asking [the Judge] for mercy.”
“I am very sorry to the deceased family. I beg you sir [the Judge] to have mercy upon me so that I can return back to society to my family,” Motie related. Datt, on the other hand, remarked, “I am sorry. Every day I am groaning in my heart because I miss my family.” He, too, begged Justice Singh to be lenient in sentencing.
“Sorry that they lost their loved one. I am 57 and give me lil time so I cud go back to my loved one,” said Parsram in his brief remarks to the court. “I am sorry that you lost your loved ones. I am very sick… I am troubling with Tuberculosis. Please grant mercy upon me,” Yacoob begged.
For his part, Justice Singh, in his sentencing remarks, noted, “This is a brutal murder. There is an aspect of premeditation in this matter. The attack was formulated on a plan.”
“There has been no indication, no show of any remorse from the [convicted] persons. In fact, they continue to deny their involvement in the incident that claimed the life of Faiyaz Narinedatt.
We had a lengthy trial, the jury made its determination. Of course, they [the convicted persons] have the right to continue to maintain their innocence,” added the Judge.
Justice Singh reasoned that there were no mitigating factors he could have found based on the evidence in the case to exercise his sentencing discretion.
When one examined the post-mortem report, the Judge pointed out that “It is clear evidence of a brutal beating. The injuries are so numerous.” In the circumstances, he found that a term of imprisonment of 66 years was appropriate for each of the five convicted killers.
Justice Singh commenced the sentence at a base of 60 years and then added another six years for the “exceptional brutality” meted out to the now dead father. Upon their arraignment, the quintet had pleaded not guilty to a joint murder indictment.
“Beat um till he dead”
During their trial, four eyewitnesses were among those to give testimonies. It was revealed that on the night of October 31, 2016, Narinedatt attended a party hosted by US-based Guyanese businessman, Marcus Bisram at his home.
It was also revealed that at some point when Narinedatt left to use the washroom, Bisram followed him and allegedly began making sexual advances to him by touching his penis.
The carpenter rejected the advances by telling Bisram, “Me don’t go in for man. Me got wife and children”. With Bisram refusing to stop, Narinedatt slapped him and walked away.
It was reported that an upset Bisram walked to the front of his yard where he informed Dickie, Motie, Datt, Parsram and Yacoob, that Narinedatt had slapped him and that they must “beat um till he dead”. As such, the carpenter was severely beaten with pieces of wood, and his lifeless body was thrown in a car and then on the Number 70 Village, Corentyne, Berbice Public Road.
One of the men then used his car to drive over Narinedatt’s body to make it appear like a vehicular accident.
Meanwhile, Bisram was extradited to Guyana to face a charge for the carpenter’s killing. However, at the end of two separate Preliminary Inquiries (PI), he was discharged because of insufficient evidence. The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, would thereafter step in, directing the Magistrate to commit Bisram to face a trial at the High Court.
The businessman challenged the DPP’s directive, which was subsequently quashed by High Court Judge Simone Morris-Ramlall, who also barred Ali-Hack from proffering a murder indictment against him. An appeal against that Judge’s decision was filed by the DPP to the Court of Appeal of Guyana, which overturned the lower court’s decision, ordering that Bisram be arrested and tried for the capital offence.
But Bisram then challenged the local appeal court’s ruling at the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ). In March of last year, the apex court restored the High Court Judge’s decision but ruled that nothing prevented the DPP from having Bisram re-arrested and charged again if fresh evidence is obtained linking him to the murder. (Feona Morrison)