– victim indicates unwillingness to proceed with matter
Magistrate Haymant Ramdhani set bail at $1M each for Dr. Walter Ramsahoye and photographer Clairmonte Marcus, who were both slapped with abduction charges yesterday.
The two appeared at the Mahaica Magistrate’s Court and although they were not required to plead to the indictable charge of abducting 39-year-old Girdharry Surujdei, they pleaded not guilty to the additional charge of assault causing actual bodily harm to the victim.
They were granted $50,000 bail each for the additional charge.
The charges stemmed from their abduction of Surujdei from a location at Chateau Margot on the East Coast of Demerara, on Monday last.
The two men were arrested on Monday night – Dr. Ramsahoye at his home on Church Street and Marcus, of 2206 Flying Fish Street, North Ruimveldt, when he turned up at the Sparendaam Police Station after being summoned.
They both spent the night in the lock-ups and were speedily placed before the court despite their vehement protestations.
Surujdei, alleged that he was snatched from his home at around 17:00 hrs on Monday, bundled into a vehicle, and taken to Ramsahoye’s Church Street, Cummingsburg home.
He also claimed that he was then beaten on the ankles with a hammer and also whipped.
Surujdei claims that he managed to escape after jumping through a window at the premises in which he was being held captive.
The victim who was in court yesterday, hobbled about with a cast on his right foot, evidence of an injury of some sort.
Surujdei however shocked the court by announcing that he did not wish to proceed with the charges against the men.
Senior Counsel Bernard Dos Santos who represented both accused indicated that he was made aware that the victim had given a statement in writing to the police indicating that he did not wish to pursue the matter.
In the circumstances, before the detective could have sworn the information regarding the charges against the two accused, Dos Santos informed the Magistrate that the matter should have been sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for advice.
If the facts are true, the attorney said, the DPP may well consider discontinuing the matter.
The matter was adjourned briefly and during this time one of the accused; Clairmonte Marcus was observed crying while proclaiming his innocence.
When the proceedings resumed, Dos Santos continued his argument for the matter to be discontinued.
But when asked if he had any statement to the effect that the complainant indicated that he did not wish to pursue the matter, Police Prosecutor Sergeant Bernard Brown told the court that he was not in possession of it.
To this the Defence Counsel declared that the detective, who swore to the information regarding the charges, was aware of the existence of a statement signed by Surujdei indicating that he did not wish to continue with the matter.
At this point, Magistrate Ramdhani indicated that the court had to adopt a certain course, pointing out that any setting aside of the charges was out of the question.
The magistrate informed that the matter is a case for the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court where it will be addressed in greater detail.
He however warned that the charges were very serious in nature and very prevalent.
Senior Counsel Dos Santos then made stirring pleas for the accused to be granted bail.
He said that Dr. Ramsahoye is the holder of specialist degress in medicine and has been practicing in Guyana for the past 34 years, during which time he was Chairman of the Guyana Medical Council.
The attorney said that the doctor is also “extremely well known” in Guyana as a television commentator and comes from a very distinguished family.
He also pointed to the fact that Dr. Ramsahoye is diabetic and had to be treated with insulin while in custody at the Sparendaam Police Station lock-ups.
Defence Counsel said that Dr. Ramsahoye has an unblemished record and therefore is not a flight risk.
With regards to Marcus, Dos Santos told the court that as far as he was aware, the photographer has had no previous brushes with the law.
Prosecutor Brown objected to bail on the basis of section nine of the kidnapping act and expressed concern that there may be some obstruction and tampering with the witness.
Magistrate Ramdhani stated that the question of bail has nothing to do with the status of the accused, reminding the Defence Counsel that the charges are serious.
He took into consideration that the victim indicated an unwillingness to proceed with the matter and the fact that Dos Santos had stated that there is the likelihood that the DPP may discontinue the matter.
He also cited the section four of the kidnapping act, under which the charges were laid, noting that no ransom was demanded, as is the case under section nine.
Magistrate Ramdhani further noted that it is clear that the charges are serious, but a distinction has to be made and the court is inclined to grant bail.
Earlier Dr. Ramsahoye, had alleged that he had given his mechanic, who is Surujdei’s brother $10M last August to buy a Land Rover.
However, the mechanic allegedly converted the money to his own use while claiming that he had been robbed.
According to the victim, he was told that his brother owed the physician $10M and that he would not be released until the cash was returned.
The alleged victim also claimed that he was then beaten on the ankles with a sledge hammer and lashed with a bull-whip.
Surujdei claimed that the ‘torture’ continued for about two hours.
Police ranks observed Surujdei lying on the ground near the physician’s premises.
After being told of the allegation, the ranks entered Dr. Ramsahoye’s house and took him and the former policeman into custody.
They are to return to court on Friday.
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