Marcus Bisram freed after Judge quashes DPP’s orders
…signals intention to sue DPP, State for unlawful detention, arrest
High Court Judge, Simone Morris-Ramlall released murder accused Marcus Bisram from prison after she ruled that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) acted in contravention of the law when she ordered Magistrate Renita Singh to commit him to stand trial for the murder of carpenter Fayaz Narinedatt.
On March 30, Magistrate Singh upheld the no-case submission by Marcus’ battery of lawyers at the Whim Magistrate’s Court in the East Berbice-Corentyne region. However, his freedom was short-lived when DPP Shalimar Ali Hack directed Magistrate Singh to re-open Bisram’s case and commit him to stand trial in the High Court. He was committed to stand trial on April 6.
Bisram’s lead counsel, Sanjeev Datadin challenged the orders in the High Court and argued that DPP Hack acted in contravention of the statutes when she issued her orders. He contended that the DPP’s decision was unreasonable, unlawful, malicious, made in bad faith and contrary to the rules of natural justice. He also argued that there was no legal foundation for the DPP to order the Magistrate to commit his client.
Datadin sought, from Judge Morris-Ramlall, several other orders inclusive of Bisram’s immediate release.
“We went through all the submissions and the Judge agreed [with us]. The DPP, in fact, never received the deposition before she decided there was evidence upon which he [Bisram] could be committed to trial for murder. The process of law is the DPP must send to the Magistrate and get the deposition – which is essentially the Magistrate’s notes, and when they get the notes then the next thing they do is the DPP makes an assessment as to whether it is sufficient to make out a charge and on the evidence there is, then the DPP will direct that he be charged.
This [the DPP’s orders] happened one hour [after] the Whim Magistrate Court [ruled]. So how could the DPP have received anything? Whim Magistrate’s [Court] is three hours’ drive away at least. So clearly the DPP acted precipitously so we were able to argue to the Judge that compliance to the statute had not been followed and that he should be freed,” Datadin told Guyana Times in an interview on Tuesday.
On Monday, Judge Morris-Ramlall agreed with the defence’s argument and quashed the DPP’s orders to commit Bisram to stand trial as well as to have the case reopened. Justice Morris-Ramlall also declared that Bisram’s arrest and subsequent incarceration was unlawful and ordered his release from the Camp Street Prison.
Bisram was able to leave the Camp Street jail on Tuesday after the relevant paperwork and filings would have taken place.
Since his extradition from the United States to Guyana, Bisram has been accusing the authorities of attempting to score cheap political points when there was no evidence linking him to the murder of Narinedatt. After he was freed on March 30, he reiterated those comments and threatened legal action against the State.
That position has not changed according to Datadin. He told this publication that his client is ready to go ahead and sue the DPP as well as the State for unlawful detention among other issues.
“He is going to take legal action against the DPP and the State for locking him up all this while without any evidence to support or substantiate it. We are kind of ready to go but as you know I am occupied with things of national importance at the moment so it might take a day or two but we intend to file it shortly,” Datadin said.
Bisram was accused of ordering the death of Narinedatt between October 31 and November 1, 2016. On March 7, 2017, an arrest warrant was issued for Bisram, who was in the US at the time. The warrant was issued on the allegation that Bisram instructed five other men – Harri Paul Parsram, Radesh Motie, Niran Yacoob, Diodath Datt and Orlando Dickie – to kill Narinedatt because the carpenter retaliated when Bisram made sexual advances to him.
In November 2018, he was extradited to Guyana after a US Appeal Court two months prior ordered his extradition after denying both a rehearing of his appeal and a motion to stay the extradition.