Neesa Gopaul murder: Court upholds conviction, but reduces jail time for mother, stepfather
The Appeal Court on Tuesday upheld the conviction of Bibi Shareema Gopaul and Jarvis “Barry” Small but reduced their sentences for the October 2, 2010 murder of 16-year-old Neesa Gopaul.
They had been initially sentenced to a combined total of 202 years in prison for the murder of the teen, having been found guilty at the Georgetown High Court in March 2015 by Justice Navindra Singh.
Gopaul was sentenced to 106 years in prison while her reputed husband Small was handed a 96-year prison sentence. Shortly after the verdict, the two killers had expressed dissatisfaction claiming that they were not given a fair trial.
They had accused the Judge of taking a political side and admitting prejudicial evidence for the jury’s consideration.
The appeal was heard by acting Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards, and Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud. In delivering the ruling, the acting Chancellor resentenced the duo to 45 years each.
Small was represented by Attorney Nigel Hughes while Gopaul was represented by Attorney Arud Gossai. The State was represented by Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Diana O’Brien.
The decomposed and headless remains of the younger Gopaul, a former student of Queen’s College, was found stuffed in a suitcase in a creek along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway.
Also discovered were a passport and a bank card that bore her name.
The suitcase was wrapped with rope and attached to dumbbells in an apparent effort to keep the young woman’s body submerged. The former QC student was found weeks after she was reported missing from her Leonora, West Coast Demerara (WCD) home.
Her cause of death was given as multiple blunt force trauma to the head.