Convicted accomplice to testify for prosecution
Bel Air heist…
…court recommends protective custody
After getting an eight-year jail term last Tuesday for the 2011 robbery at the Bel Air Park home of business tycoon Malcolm Panday, Rabindranauth Seemangal will now be offering evidence on behalf of the prosecution in the armed robbery trial against his five alleged accomplices.
The information was disclosed by Special Prosecutor Glen Hanoman on Friday. He along with Senior Counsel Bernard De Santos is representing the state.
When the matter was called at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine- Beharry, witnesses for the prosecution were absent and thus brought the hearing to a premature end.
However, Randolph Kirton, attorney for accused Rayon Jones, raised an issue that Seemangal, Prosecutor Hanoman and Panday, the victim, were seen in conversation outside the courtroom, a position he deemed inappropriate.
Kirton argued that the presence of the victim could influence the evidence of Seemangal who is scheduled to present evidence against the remaining defendants.
Hanoman, however, dismissed the assumptions of Kirton. He told the court that since Seemangal is now a prosecution witness, he has to be briefed before taking the witness stand; he, however, said that that was not the case Kirton was talking about.
Hanoman raised his own issue stating that his witness had been receiving strange messages from the other defendants. He also revealed to the court that for the first time, the other defendants had brought food at the court lock ups for Seemangal.
Hanoman told the court that all the while Seemangal was incarcerated, none of the defendants had brought him food. He said it was two of them who brought the food. When asked by the court, Seemangal confirmed the prosecutor’s claim.
Kirton thus answered the prosecutions claim as being speculations. He refused indications that the defendants were bent on harming their former associate.
The court, however, warned the remaining defendants to have nothing to do with the prosecution’s witness. She told them if they were, they should not interfere with Seemangal and further advised that Seemangal be placed in protective custody. The recommendation was made for Hanoman to make an application for the order to be issued.
The case will continue tomorrow.
Seemangal was sentenced to an eight-year jail term on Tuesday after he pleaded guilty to two charges of armed robbery and firearm possession. He had been incarcerated since his capture. The police nabbed several persons who allegedly used guns to rob the Pandays of over $2M.
Panday’s mother-in-law, Chandrada Rampersaud; Hardat Kumar; his wife’s cousin, Jermaine Mitchell; Aubrey Simon and Rayon Jones are still on trial for the robbery. Panday’s mother-in-law is alleged to have told persons about the Pandays having large sums of money in their home, and they reportedly conspired to rob the family.
The accused were caught when Panday managed to slip away and call the police.