The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has advised that the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) commence for four men accused of murdering Better Hope, East Coast Demerara moneychanger Aaron Latchman and his daughter Arian Latchman, even after one of the accused on remand for the murder escaped from the Lusignan Prison.
This came shortly after reports in the media that the DPP was yet to decide on the way the forward for the PI into the murders.
In a statement on Saturday, the Office of the DPP said that legal advice was given into the matter on January 29, 2021.
“The Police prosecutor ought to have sought legal advice from the DPP on the way forward and not have waited for the Magistrate to have advised that the DPP’s advice be sought,” the statement from the DPP chambers said.
Those charged for the offence are 25-year-old Mark Rufino, a labourer of Parika Facade, East Bank Essequibo (EBE) – the prison escapee who remains on the run; 37-year-old Paul Chan, called “Long Hair” or “Anthony”, a bus conductor of Dennis Street, Sophia, Greater Georgetown; 44-year-old Troy Abrams, called “Rasta Man”, a vendor of Middle Street, Agricola, East Bank Demerara (EBD); 37-year-old Lloyd Sadloo of Mocha Arcadia, EBD; and 41-year-old Sean Thomas, called “Yankee”, an electrician of William Street, Kitty, Georgetown.
This newspaper had previously reported that Rufino had escaped from the Holding Bay at the Lusignan Prison between October 20 and October 21, 2020.
Following his escape, the Police prosecutor was granted one month’s leave to seek advice on how to proceed with the matter. This occurred during a court hearing in late December 2020.
Magistrate Alisha George, presiding at the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court, had instructed the prosecutor to seek advice in the matter by the end of the week. However, when the matter was called, the prosecutor requested another adjournment.
The lawyers for the other murder accused had called for the escapee’s name to be struck off of the joint charge, and for the court to proceed with the PI against the other accused. The matter was adjourned to Monday, February 1, 2021, and the prosecutor was ordered to report the legal advice to the court on that day.
It was reported that on the day of the murder, both Aaron and his 19-year-old daughter had just returned to their Lot 58 Robert Street, Better Hope, East Coast Demerara home when they were attacked by armed men.
It is being alleged that the men in question had reportedly held the man and his daughter at gunpoint and took them into the upper flat of their home, where they demanded money.
Upon receiving the bag that contained an undisclosed amount of cash, the men then shot the money changer and his daughter before escaping from the scene.
Shortly after the businessman and his daughter were rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital, where they were both pronounced dead.
Sometime later, a motor car that belonged to the dead businessman that was used by the bandits was found at Front Road, La Penitence, Georgetown.
During a search of the vehicle, an illegal firearm and several rounds of ammunition were found. Two of the accused murderers – Abrams and Sadloo – were arrested and placed before the court. (G9)