Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall has imposed a 15-year jail term on Asif Hamid, a butcher of Lot 34 Kingston, Corriverton, Upper Corentyne, Berbice, after he was convicted of killing a cattle farmer and burning his body at the back of his house.
The sentence was handed down on the 27-year-old man at the Berbice Assizes on Wednesday. The butcher is convicted of killing 76-year-old Henry Lalmam of Number 56 Village in August, 2015.
After pleading guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter last week, Justice Ramlall had asked for a probation report on the convict.
In her report delivered to the court on Wednesday, Probation and Welfare Office Felicia Gordon said Hamid had a sound secondary education and obtained seven subjects at CSEC.
She noted that shortly after leaving school, Hamid took up his father’s trade as a butcher.
According to Gordon, she spoke with several family members of the accused to find out about his character. Some, she revealed, referred to Hamid as being a good person. However, one family member described him as having a problem. She said he was a habitual gambler.
Defence Attorney Mursaline Bacchus, SC, in A plea of mitigation, cited several other cases of a similar nature and the penalty imposed in each of those cases. Bacchus argued that no weapon was used in committing the murder.
However, State Prosecutor Tuanna Hardy said Hamid’s hands were as lethal as any weapon. She reminded the court that Hamid used his two hands to strangle the cattle farmer. She argued that it was as a result of his gambling habit and greed that Hamid committed the act.
Also, she asked the court to take note that the deceased had trusted Hamid and had gone to his home alone. The prosecutor submitted that sentencing should reflect a punishment that would act as a deterrent for those who would want to attack the vulnerable.
In handing down the sentence, Justice Ramlall said Hamid took advantage of the elderly man, and lured him into his yard.
The deceased, the trial Judge added, did not fight back, and had trusted Hamid.
Reports in 2015 are that Hamid had been taking animals from the cattle farmer on a credit arrangement just as his father had done with the now deceased man.
However, Police were able to unearth evidence which suggested that Lalman had spoken to Hamid’s father about an outstanding bill, and the elder Hamid had expressed alarm, since he did not send his son on such an arrangement.
Lalman subsequently made contact with the younger Hamid to enquire about the outstanding money, and was invited to his home. It was there that Hamid killed the cattle farmer. Worried about the cattle farmer’s whereabouts, his family reported him missing. It was then that a close relatives of Hamid’s informed Police about the debt issue.
However, when questioned at the time, the younger Hamid had said he had not seen Lalman. Investigators searching the yard for evidence discovered a recently-dug-up area behind the house. It was later found to contain the remains of the cattle farmer.
The younger Hamid later confessed to killing his father’s friend so as to avoid having to pay his bill. (G4)