Eight murder cases were presented and completed during the April criminal assizes, according to information released by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) yesterday.
The eight murder cases were completed by Madame Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire and Justices Navindra Singh, Brassington Reynolds, James Bovell-Drakes and Franklin Holder.
Yesterday marked the end of the April session of the Demerara Criminal Assizes and according to a release from the DPP though 230 cases were listed to be heard during the session; only ten criminal matters were completed at the Georgetown Supreme Court.
A total of 231 cases are listed to be heard during the June 2015 session of the Demerara Criminal Assizes, which will open today.
In Berbice the June Criminal Assizes will start on June 16 with 51 matters listed to be heard; while in Essequibo the new Criminal Assizes commenced on May 19, last. Twenty matters are listed for this session which will continue until October 2015.
In the Demerara Assizes the April 2015 Criminal Assizes were presided over by Justice Navindra Singh, Madam Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire and Justice Brassington Reynolds.
However, during the session ten matters were presented and completed. Of these ten matters, eight were presented in the court while two matters were nolle prosequi by the DPP.
Of these eight matters that were presented, there were two guilty verdicts, two not guilty verdicts, two guilty pleas and one hung jury. One of these eight matters is currently in progress, the release advised.
Justice Navindra Singh completed two murder trials. ln one matter, the accused was acquitted after the Judge upheld a no case submission and in the other matter, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of not guilty.
Three Murder cases were taken before Madame Justice Roxanne George-Wiltshire. In one of these matters, the accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 40 years’ imprisonment.
ln the other trial, the jury returned a unanimous guilty verdict and the accused was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment. The third trial, in which three accused persons are indicted, is in progress, according to the DPP.
Justice Brassington Reynolds disposed of two matters for the offence of Murder. The jury in the first matter failed to reach a verdict and the trial judge ordered a retrial while in the other matter, the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser count of Manslaughter and was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment.
Justice James Bovell-Drakes, who sat during the January 2015 Criminal Assizes, continued into this Session and completed the one matter for the offence of Murder. That accused was sentenced to 13 years’ imprisonment after the jury returned a guilty verdict for the lesser count of Manslaughter.
Two matters were nolle prosequi by the DPP. “Of these two matters, one matter was for the offence of Carnal Knowledge of a Girl under 15 years and the other matter for the offence of Murder. In the matter for the offence of Carnal Knowledge, the virtual complainant indicated by writing that she no longer wished to proceed with the matter,” the DPP said.
While in the other matter for the offence of murder, the accused could not instruct his Defence Counsel for the purpose of his trial and several witnesses were unable to testify.
At the same time in Berbice, the February 2015 Criminal Assizes was in progress with Justice Brassington Reynolds who first sat and then Justice Franklin Holder who continued. Those sessions commenced on February 3, last.
Sixty-one cases have been listed to be heard during this Assizes which continue until June 15. Of these 61 cases, 17 of them received attention during the past four months, February to May, the DPP said.
Of these seventeen matters, nine were disposed of by Justice Reynolds when he sat. Three matters were presented before Justice Holder and five matters were nolle prosequi by the DPP.
The three matters presented before Justice Franklin Holder were for the offences of Murder, Rape of A Child Family Member and Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent. In two of these trials, the accused persons were acquitted after the trial judge up held the no case submissions, and directed the juries to return formal verdicts of not guilty.
In the one matter for the offence of Inflicting Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent, the accused pleaded guilty to the offence and will return to Court on June 11 for sentencing by Justice Holder.
Meanwhile, in Essequibo the Criminal Assizes commenced on May 19 last, before Justice James Bovell-Drakes. One matter for the offence of Rape of a Child under Fifteen Years is in progress.
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