Twenty-four year-old Shieldstown, West Bank Berbice resident Shazam Khalil, the man who was on
trial for the January 2015 murder of his girlfriend, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Khalil stood before Justice Jo Ann Barlow and a Mixed Jury in the Berbice High Court. He was found guilty of murdering Shazina Mohamed, 19, of Edinburgh Housing Scheme East Bank Berbice. The woman was brutally stabbed about her body around 19:00 hrs on Saturday January 17, 2015 outside the Yang Yi Chinese Restaurant in Rosignol, West Bank Berbice.
Khalil was given the sentence following a probation report which was read by Probation and Social Service Officer Adessia Semple.
Attorney at law Stacy Goodings had told the court that the woman was ambushed and stabbed by the accused who then fled the scene.
Mohamed was picked up and rushed to the Fort Wellington Hospital from where she was subsequently transferred to the New Amsterdam Hospital where she succumbed.
The attorney had related that Mohamed was at the restaurant with two friends when the incident occurred. She had journeyed to Rosignol to collect a phone and decided to go to the Restaurant with her friends to eat some food when she was attacked by the suspect.
During the trial, the prosecution had called a number of witnesses, including their two main witnesses who were on the scene when the incident occurred.
Vishwa Sukhdeo had stated that he and the now dead woman had shared a casual relationship. He had bought food for his sister who was in the restaurant eating, while he and Mohamed were outside talking. He had just left Mohamed and gone to his sister when he heard Mohamed scream. Upon looking around he saw Khalil hugging Mohamed and apparently cuffing her. He shouted at the man who looked at him before releasing Mohamed and darting from the scene.
The young woman was bleeding profusely. She subsequently collapsed. Sukhdeo assisted in taking her to both hospitals.
Latchmi Sukhdeo had testified that on the day in question she accompanied her brother to the Ritz Mall at Rosignol to unlock a cell phone. They subsequently met Shazina Mohamed and after a while they walked to the Restaurant where her brother bought some food. Subsequently Shazina was attacked by the accused.
State Prosecutor Attorney at Law Stacy Goodings had urged the jury to believe the state’s case which had two eyewitness and the doctor’s testimony.
Defence attorney Tajenarine Ramroop in his presentation pointed to some inconsistencies in the prosecution’s case and urged the jury to believe the defence’s case of self-defence and accident.
Justice Barlow had subsequently summed up the evidence to the jury and directed the panel on the law. A probation reported was then asked for. The judge had then granted the request. Attorney Ramroop had told the court that his client was just 24 years old, he is not married, has no children and lives with his parents. It was the first time he was charged for any offence of any sort.
The probation report had outlined that Khalil was the product of poor upbringing. He was the second of 10 children. He left school at the age of nine to seek employment. The home environment was rundown and was described as a one-flat dilapidated building with a makeshift kitchen. The toilet facilities were situated outside.
The house lacked the basic amenities and the home environment seemed to be overcrowded, with no privacy. There was no electricity. They used gas lamps and candles to light the house.
The relationship with Shazina Mohamed was his third. His first companion took her own life while the relationship with the second ended after her parents disapproved of it.
Justice Barlow before passing sentence told the accused she had listened to the contents of the report and the mitigation of his attorney, but she would disregard the report.
“Poverty is no excuse to kill,” the Judge stated.
She mentioned the fact that he had spent one year in jail, then sentenced him to life in prison with no parole before 24 years are served.
The accused had given an unsworn statement from the dock.
During the trial the prosecution called a number of witnesses including Dr. Vivekanand Brijmohan who gave the cause of death as shock and hemorrhage due to multiple stab wounds.
The court also applied Section 95 of the Evidence Act to have the deposition of the deceased woman’s father Shafique Mohamed admitted in evidence.
The state called a number of witnesses to support its application including Police Sergeant Alexis Adams of the Central Immigration and Passport Office, Fazia Mohamed, daughter of Shafique and sister of Shazina, and Legal Clerk attached to the Fort Wellington Magistrate’s Court Ophelia Marques.
Shazam Khalil and Shazina Mohamed had reportedly met by accident. She had mistakenly dialed a wrong number which happened to be Khalil’s. After that they started to communicate.
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