Apr 06, 2016 News
The State, through the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), has once again moved to the Court of Appeal to overturn a verdict in which a murder accused was set free following a High Court Trial.
The case was heard by Justice Navindra Singh who upheld a No Case Submission and directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.
The case was against Sharkir Mohamed, who was accused of murdering Shewraney Doobay, the 58-year-old wife of prominent physician Dr Ramsundar Doobay.
The woman was found dead in her Echilibar Villas, Campbellville, Georgetown home almost five years ago.
This new appeal comes in the wake of last month’s historic Appeal Court ruling that overturned the acquittal of two men accused in the Lusignan Massacre.
It also comes at a time when Prosecutors from the DPP’s Chambers were able to secure only eight convictions out of 33 cases that were presented before three judges in the High Court, for the entire Demerara January 2016 Assizes, which ended on April 1.
Of the 33 cases, seven were for the offence of Murder, three for Rape, three for Carnal Knowledge of Girl under 15 years, four for Rape of a Child under 16 years, four for Manslaughter, eight for Attempt to Commit Murder, three Sexual Activity with a Child Family Member and one matter for the offence of Causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent.
Twenty-five of these matters were completed by Justices Navindra Singh, Jo-Ann Barlow and Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, as the DPP withdrew (nolle prosequi) seven of them.
According to figures from the DPP’s Chambers, there were eight convictions, 12 formal verdicts of not guilty (where the judge directed the jury to return not guilty verdicts), nine not guilty verdicts by the jury itself, two guilty pleas and one hung jury. In one case the accused was remanded to prison because he was in breach of the conditions of his bail, and he is awaiting trial, while in another, the accused died before he was sentenced.
Justice Singh completed 17 matters, four of which were for the offence of Murder, and stiff penalties were imposed. In one of the four murder cases, the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of Manslaughter and was sentenced to life imprisonment.
In another murder case, the accused was sentenced to 88 years imprisonment after the jury returned a unanimously guilty verdict. In the third matter, the accused was sentenced to 28 years imprisonment after the jury returned a majority verdict in proportion of 11 guilty to one not guilty on the lesser offence of Manslaughter.
In one of the three cases for the offence of Attempt to Commit Murder heard before Justice Singh, the Complainant offered no evidence against the accused and consequent thereto, the trial judge directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. In another matter, the accused pleaded guilty to the alternative charge of Wounding with Intent and was sentenced to nine years imprisonment. The accused in a third trial was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment after he was found guilty by a majority verdict of 10 guilty to 2 not guilty.
In the two cases for the offence of Manslaughter before the same judge, the accused were both acquitted consequent upon the Trial Judge directing the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty due to insufficient evidence.
Madam Justice Barlow completed one murder trial, one manslaughter case and four cases for the offence of Attempt to Commit Murder.
The accused in the Manslaughter matter was acquitted by a unanimous jury verdict of not guilty, while in one case for the offence of Attempt to Commit Murder, the accused was freed after the two Complainants testified in court that they did not wish to offer any evidence against and caused the trial judge to direct the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.
ln another trial, the accused who was indicted on three counts of Attempt to commit Murder’, Wounding with Intent and Discharging a Loaded Firearm with Intent, was found guilty by a majority verdict in proportion of 10 guilty to two not guilty on the second count of Wounding With Intent and was sentenced to eight years imprisonment.
ln the other case, for the offence of Attempt to commit Murder with an alternative count of wounding with Intent, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty on the alternative count and the accused was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment by Justice Barlow.
The accused in the fourth trial was acquitted by a unanimous jury verdict.
The murder accused, who stood before Justice Barlow was also acquitted by a unanimous verdict returned by the jury.
Madam Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry completed two murder matters. She also presided over one case for causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent, another one for the offence of Manslaughter and one for Attempt to commit Murder with the alternative count of causing Grievous Bodily Harm.
The Manslaughter accused was acquitted after the jury returned a verdict of not guilty.
ln the case for the offence of Causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent, the victim went into the witness box and indicated that she no longer wanted to proceed with the matter and caused the trial judge to direct the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty for the accused.
One of the murder cases ended in a hung jury and the accused was remanded to prison to await a new trial.
In the case for Attempt to commit Murder with the alternative count of causing Grievous Bodily Harm, the jury returned a majority not guilty verdict of 11 to 1 for the offence of Attempt to Commit Murder, but guilty of the alternative count of Causing Grievous Bodily Harm. The accused was sentenced to seven years imprisonment.
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