Chief Justice Ian Chang yesterday directed that an Order or Rule Nisi be issued to the presiding Magistrate/Coroner at the Cove and John Magistrate’s Court to hold an inquest into the unnatural death of 19-year-old Ramesh Sawh, called Kenny.
Sawh was found hanging in the Enmore lockups in January in what appeared to be a suicide.
As part of the order, Chief Justice Chang called upon the said Magistrate/Coroner to show cause why he/she should not be compelled to hold an inquest into the cause(s) of, and the circumstances connected with, the death of Sawh and to show cause why the said Order or Rule Nisi of Mandamus should not be made absolute.
Justice Chang made the order yesterday after hearing submissions by Attorney-at-Law Anil Nandlall who filed the action on behalf of Sawh’s father, Tejram.
Nandlall filed the motion on Monday.
In the affidavit in support of the motion, Tejram Sawh, of 75 Logwood, Enmore, East Coast Demerara, contends that on January 17, 2008, his son Ramesh left home in search for a job at Enmore Sugar Estate but he never returned home.
The affidavit added that some time between 14:00 hours and 15:00 hours on that day Tejram was informed by a neighbour that his son had died while being held at the Enmore Police Outpost lock-ups.
Subsequently, it stated, Tejram learnt that Ramesh was alleged to have committed suicide by using his T shirt to hang himself from the ceiling of one of the holding cells at the Enmore Police Outpost lock-ups.
He immediately called the police station to inquire about what had happened to the deceased but the police simply informed him that he was dead and that he had been taken to the mortuary.
“As news of the death disseminated throughout the village, friends, relatives, neighbours and other villagers started gathering at my home, some of whom started recounting to me certain events that transpired earlier that day.
I was informed by some of the villagers and do verily believe that a policeman, accompanied by a gentleman by the name of Jerry, had earlier on the said day, picked up, handcuffed and taken away the deceased (Ramesh Sawh), that both the policeman and the said gentleman were hitting him about his body and head while taking him away.”
According to Tejram, he was also informed by some of the villagers that his son was accused of stealing a car battery from a wrecked car belonging to the said gentleman by the name of Jerry.
“I am informed by my eldest child, Terry Sawh, and do verily believe that he visited the Enmore Police Outpost on the said day but the police officers refused both to allow him entry into the station and to explain the circumstances surrounding the death,” he added.
The affidavit stated that to date, almost five months after Ramesh Sawh’s death, the police have neither formally informed my family as to the details surrounding his arrest, detention and death nor have they issued any official statement in relation to the same.
It added that he and his family are strongly of the view that the allegation made or explanation offered by the police officers stationed at the Enmore Police Outpost in respect of how the deceased met his death is seriously lacking in credibility.
Very little can be gathered from the surrounding circumstances to support their allegation or explanation, he said.
This, Tejram contends, is in light of the fact that Ramesh hitherto never exhibited the slightest propensity of being suicidal although he had brushes with the law on previous occasions which resulted in him being incarcerated in those very lock-ups for protracted periods of time; that the said lock-ups consist of two cells made of concrete and neither of which has any beam, ledge, rafter or other structure, erection or appurtenance which can be used to facilitate a hanging; and that a gentleman by the name of Etwaroo who resides at Enmore has informed me that he was present at the Enmore Police Outpost on the day of the deceased’s death when he witnessed the deceased being beaten by police officers; he further informed me that he heard the deceased screaming loudly and that a black plastic bag was pulled over the head of the deceased.
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