A Brooklyn, New York court has agreed to delay the extradition hearing of US-based Guyanese
businessman, Marcus Bisram, by almost a month, after his lawyers said that the ongoing murder case in local courts here may determine whether this country continues to demand he be sent back.
Bisram wanted in Guyana for allegedly ordering the murder of a Berbice carpenter last year, after his sexual advances were rebuffed, was arrested earlier this month at his New York beachside home by NY cops and other investigators.
Bisram’s Staten Island lawyer, Mario Gallucci of Helbock, Nappa and Gallucci law firm, on July 6, wrote Judge Peggy Kuo of the Eastern District of New York, Brooklyn, noting that the extradition hearing was scheduled for July 13.
He requested that the matter to be adjourned to August 9 or August 10.
“The reason for the request is that I have spoken to Guyanese counsel, Sanjeev Datadin, who informed me that hearings on the underlying murder case have been scheduled on July 27 and July 28 in Guyana. These hearings may affect whether the country of Guyana will continue to request Mr Bisram’s extradition or in the very least affect the evidence at the extradition hearing.”
Gallucci said he has contacted Assistant US Attorney Nicholas Moscow who does not oppose this application for the adjournment.
Judge Kuo has now set the matter for August 9, 2017 at 2:00 pm.
Yesterday, Datadin confirmed that indeed he is representing Bisram in Guyana. He said that he and his legal team will be moving to speed up the matter as based on what is available, there is nothing linking his client to the alleged murder.
“We will be moving to determine whether Guyana can ask the US to extradite Mr. Bisram based on the law also,” the lawyer explained. “What I can tell you is that it is very unfair that the media has labelled him as a mastermind of this alleged act.”
According to court documents filed earlier this month in the US by a state attorney on behalf of the Department of Justice, that country will be using provisions between the United States and Guyana that are found in the Extradition Treaty between the United States of America and the United Kingdom of December 22, 1931. Guyana was a former colony of the Britain and the laws had remained on the books.
Bisram was refused bail last week after he appeared before Judge Kuo in the Brooklyn court, New York.
The businessman, despite lawyering up, failed to persuade the court that he should be
allowed his freedom pending the extradition hearing. This is because Bridget Rohde, Acting United States Attorney, made it clear that there is no guarantee the businessman would not flee.
Rohde, in her submissions for Bisram to be kept in custody, explained that the Government of Guyana requested formally for the US to extradite Bisram, a fugitive from Guyana, pursuant to the Extradition Treaty between the US and Great Britain.
It was disclosed that Bisram was arrested on July 4, 2017, based on a complaint and warrant issued by Judge James C. Francis IV, a New York judge since June 16, 2017, seeking his extradition to Guyana.
Rohde, in her arguments for refusal of bail, said that unlike in criminal cases, there is a strong presumption against bail in extradition proceedings. To justify bail, the fugitive must establish the existence of “special circumstances” warranting bail, and that he is neither a flight risk nor a danger to the community.
”We respectfully submit that Bisram should be detained because he cannot meet the burden of showing that he poses no risk of flight or danger to the community and that special circumstances exist warranting his release.”
The US state lawyer said that as a general matter, international extradition is primarily an executive function. “The judiciary’s role is delineated by statute, and extends to determining whether to certify to the Secretary of State that the submitted evidence from the requesting country is “sufficient to sustain the charge.”
She made it clear that the Secretary of State, and not the courts, makes the final determination whether the fugitive should ultimately be surrendered to the requesting country.
“Accordingly, at an extradition hearing, the court considers the evidence presented on behalf of the requesting country – in this case, Guyana – and adjudges whether the legal requirements for certification of extraditability have been established.”
This entails determining whether the judicial officer is authorized to conduct the extradition proceeding; the court has jurisdiction over the fugitive; the applicable treaty is in full force and effect; the crimes for which surrender is requested are covered by the applicable treaty; and there is sufficient evidence to support a finding of probable cause as to each charge for which extradition is sought.
It was pointed out that the inability of the US to deliver a fugitive who jumped bail would cause them “serious embarrassment.”
Accordingly, “release on bail in extradition cases should be an unusual and extraordinary thing.”
With regards to Bisram fleeing Guyana after the murder last October, the court documents said that in doing so, Bisram has demonstrated that he is highly capable of moving to avoid prosecution.
”Moreover, based on information gathered by the United States Marshals about Bisram, it appears that he has the financial means to further flee from the United States to yet another country or to hide in this country were he to be released. Bisram also has a strong incentive to flee due to the seriousness of the offence with which he is charged in Guyana.”
The US attorney went further. “With respect to Bisram’s danger to the community, given the serious nature of the alleged crime, a brutal murder, the community both here in the United States and abroad would be at risk were he to be released. Allowance of bail in any amount would not guarantee Bisram’s presence in court and would invite the possibility of embarrassing the United States in the conduct of its foreign affairs.”
The case would be generating much interest in Guyana as it is not often that the US has extradited one of its citizens to Guyana to face charges. Guyana has done so in the past.
The arrest would come days after relatives complained to Kaieteur News that the authorities seemed not too keen to extradite Bisram from the US to face the courts.
On November 1, last year, the battered body of 26-year-old carpenter Faiyaz Narinedatt was found on the Number 70 Village, Corentyne foreshore. His death had been staged to look like a hit-and-run accident and two cops in Berbice were fingered in the cover-up.
According to the prosecutors’ case, the man was killed after an argument at a function attended by Bisram and friends, then taken elsewhere and dumped to make it appear as a hit-and-run.
Bisram had apparently made sexual advances on the carpenter but was rebuffed.
It was after ranks from the Guyana Police Force’s Major Crimes Unit took over the investigation that Harripaul Parsram, 49, Orlando Dickie, 39, Radesh Motie, 39, Diadath Datt, 18 and Niran Yacoob, 37, were charged for the murder.
Additionally, three individuals, including Bisram’s mother, were charged for allegedly offering a detective $4M to suppress evidence against Bisram.
On Wednesday, a tearful Pooja Pitam, wife of Narinedatt, was in court when Bisram was arraigned. She told CBS afterwards that she wanted justice and that her little daughter, one of two children with the dead man, was born after he was laid to rest.
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