Mar 20, 2016 News
– victim’s relatives slams police
It’s been almost two years since the Director of Public Prosecutions initiated steps to re-open the case against businessman, Rondy Jagdeo, for the September 2013 murder of biker, Kurt Davis.
But from all indications, this order might not materialize, especially since the police seem unable to locate the file on the matter.
Randy Davis, the dead man’s brother, told this newspaper that he has been in contact with the police up to as recent as this past week and they have indicated that they cannot locate the file.
He and other family members believe that there is a conspiracy to deny them justice and are appealing to the police to pull out all the stops to ensure that Kurt Davis’s killer pays the penalty.
“We are very upset and dissatisfied with the way the judicial system and the police force have dealt with this matter, leading to the early release from prison of the man accused of killing Kurt…
“This man ended up embarrassing the entire nation when he rode off on his waiting CBR outside the court and with no helmet. That simply tells us the he knew what was going on and was expecting to be free on that day.
“He is above the law in Guyana and untouchable,” the dead man’s parents wrote in an email to this newspaper.
On September 3, 2013, Kurt Davis was riddled with bullets after he was lured from his house.
His alleged killer fled the scene.
Based on eyewitnesses’ accounts, investigators soon trained their mind on Rondy Jagdeo, but by then he had already reportedly fled the jurisdiction.
Five months later, Jagdeo surrendered to police after a wanted bulletin was issued for his arrest. But after an unusually speedy Preliminary Inquiry, the murder charge against Jagdeo was surprisingly discharged by then Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry on March 20, 2014, mainly due to the absence of key witnesses in the matter.
The pre-trial matter had engaged the attention of the court for a little over one month. Some seven witnesses were called to take the stand on behalf of the Prosecution.
The Prosecution was ordered by the magistrate to close its case after failing on three occasions to produce its two main civilian witnesses to the court.
A woman, Naliffa Dookie, who is believed to be the paramour of the deceased, and the only eyewitness, Rondell Marks, also known as “Barber” were absent, despite being summoned by the court, and radio messages being sent demanding their attendance.
This led to Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry, upholding no-case submissions by Jagdeo’s lawyer and ruling that the Prosecution had indeed failed to present the court with sufficient evidence for a prima facie case of murder to be established against the accused, and she subsequently discharged the matter.
Upon being told that he was “free to go,” Jagdeo walked briskly out of the courtroom. He strolled to the Police Outpost, ditched his shirt and donned a purple hooded jersey and sun glasses.
Jagdeo then slipped a bag around his shoulder and made his way to a waiting white Honda CBR motorcycle, on which he rode away from the courthouse.
But shortly after, DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack signed a letter in which she requested that the Magistrate produce all the depositions that were taken during the Preliminary Inquiry into the murder of the popular biker.
“I will look at them and once all of the witnesses who gave statements to the police did not testify, I can advise that the Magistrate reopen the case, just as was done in the Carlyle Barton matter,” the DPP had told this newspaper in April 2014.
But to date the police appear to have been dragging their feet on the matter.
Frustrated and angered by the apparent lack of interest by the police, Randy Davis contacted this newspaper on Tuesday and pleaded for the matter to be highlighted.
According to Randy Davis, former Crime Chief Leslie James had promised to look into the matter, but that was all he got-—a promise.
He said that he then contacted the new Crime Chief, Wendell Blanhum, back in June last year and was sent to the deputy, Superintendent Mitchell Caesar for the matter to be dealt with.
He said that since then he has not heard from the police.
On Tuesdayt, this newspaper contacted Crime Chief Blanhum via telephone in Davis’s presence, and he invited Davis to meet with him immediately.
Later that day Davis informed that he was satisfied with the way the Crime Chief dealt with him.
However, his satisfaction turned to despair when he learnt that the file on his brother’s murder could not be located.
“All these stories raising up back; what happen to my brother’s matter? My parents are calling me from overseas and are asking what is going on,” Randy Davis said.
He said that Jagdeo is in Guyana and is seen regularly but no effort is being made to re-arrest him.
The witnesses are here too, he said.
A police source told this newspaper that even if the file is found, there is still the question of convincing the witnesses to testify in court.
The Davis family believes that the witnesses were tampered with, which resulted in their reluctance to testify in the matter.
One of the witnesses had claimed that he was fearful for his life but according to Randy Davis, that witness is currently walking around as if nothing happened.
“What happen, now that the accused is free, is he no longer fearful for his life? What is happening is plane to see. And now the file on the matter has disappeared,” Randy Davis lamented.
Relatives of the deceased had always expressed displeasure with the judicial system, stating that the proceedings were a slap in their face.
“I understand the court’s position, since there were constant no shows by witnesses, but at some point in time the police were in contact with these witnesses. What happened to a witness protection system? Why weren’t provisions made for them?”
“Here it is that a man walks free because these witnesses, in fear, may have left the country. Now a mother is without a son and a son without a father because of a sloppy system,” a relative had stated shortly after Jagdeo was set free by the Magistrate.
Back in 2014 Seelall Persaud, the then Acting Commissioner of Police, had told members of the media that civilian witnesses have a “moral obligation” to come to court and give evidence.
He had stated that there was very little that the Police Force could do, unless the court, through the Magistrate, issues an arrest warrant for that witness.
“That witness would be arrested and held until the matter is completed,” Persaud had stated.
He and the rest of the Davis family are convinced that the matter was compromised from the time Jagdeo turned himself in.
“Some kind of under hand work has been taking place where this matter is concerned from day one after the accused walked into court with his two high profile lawyers and then being release after spending six months in prison,” the Davis email stated.
They pointed to the length of time other murder accused are on remand waiting for their Preliminary Inquiry to be completed.
“Look at how many persons are in prison on remand for years before they even get a PI hearing and yet this man got court hearings one after the other. Now we have been cheated by the policing system and court system in Guyana. We would like to ask the Minister of security if this is how he intends to solve crime and have a secure country not only for Guyanese but also for visitors.
“We are not a family of money; we can’t afford to pay our way out to get justice; we have to depend on the system which is very corrupt.
“The way we see things in Guyana, once you have money, you can pay your way out. We would like to this case re-opened and we need justice,” the family of the murdered Kurt Davis wrote.
Should Jagdeo be re-arrested it would not be the first time that a murder matter has been reopened long after it was discharged in the Magistrate’s Court.
A similar course of action was taken against beauty queen, Carolann Lynch, who was subsequently freed for a second time in connection with the murder of her husband, Farouk Razack.
The same was done in the case of cricketer, Carlyle Barton, who was charged with the murder of Shawn Nelson.
Despite the shooting being captured on camera, Barton walked away a free man after key prosecution witnesses were a no show.
Although the DPP in accordance with Section 72 (2) (ii) (a) of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act, 10:01 had directed that the case be reopened, Barton remains at large, having disappeared immediately after he was granted his freedom.
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