By Abena Rockcliffe-Campbell
“We have been given instruction to leave no stone unturned in pursuit of justice for our client,” said Eusi Anderson. Anderson is the only Guyanese lawyer among the three representing Rodney ‘Benjai’ Le Blanc, the Trinidadian
artiste who was assaulted outside the Palm Court almost two months ago.
The artiste is dissatisfied that the police have made little or no progress thus far in the investigation. Further to that, Benjai’s attorneys are looking to put the authorities in Guyana on notice.
Should the investigation “not be taken seriously” the lawyers are prepared to name those very authorities as defendants in a matter to be filed in the Caribbean Court of Justice.
The basis for the action would be breach of a Caricom treaty.
Anderson wrote the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Shalimar Ali Hack a letter noting that his client was “viciously” assaulted on April 17.
He said that the artiste sustained serious injuries including a “severe laceration” to the right side of his face. The matter was reported to Brickdam (Police Station).
The letter stated, “Confidence in the police to conduct a thorough investigation has waned and Guyana’s image as a destination for VIP performers and artistes has suffered an identical fate.”
Anderson said that the Guyana Police Force was informed that Benjai remains available for further interviews and to participate in any other procedure which will assist the police in their “purported ongoing investigation.”
He told the DPP that the police were provided with names and images of the perpetrators of the assault—Imran Khan and Maverick De Abreu. However the police seem to have ignored the complaint on Khan and focused the investigation solely on De Abreu.
Anderson went on to point out that early last month a wanted bulletin was issued for De Abreu in connection with the Benjai happening. Incidentally, De Abreu was taken before the court for another matter on May 12.
“In keeping with the oddities of this investigation, De Abreu was arraigned and released” the very day…”This was in the presence of several members of the Guyana Police Force as though the wanted bulletin for the instant matter was not issued or did not exist.”
Anderson said that he now understands that a file has been sent to the DPP’s office. He questioned if she has yet offered a recommendation.
Further, he requested a copy of the police investigation file on the matter. “We foresee little difficulty in this request as these are matters of a public record. We are of the view that verbatim records of the advice sought by the police and tendered by your office will assist us in understanding how the police came to eliminate Khan while the virtual complainant steadfastly maintained that he was assaulted by both individuals.
Anderson said that the police have not contacted the Benjai since he made the official report.
He then put the DPP on notice that the artiste has instructed to explore claims of breaches of the treaty rights of Caricom national in a fellow Caricom Member state by agents of the defaulting state.
“Our focus is on potential breaches such as those occasioned by the lax investigation currently being pursued by the agents of the delinquent Member State.”
The letter was written a few days ago. It was copied to the Commissioner of Police, Caricom Secretary General, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Trinidad and Tobago and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Guyana.
Benjai was hospitalized in Guyana after the assault. He received 25 stitches for the cuts — one close to the ear and the other along the area of his jawbone.
The soca star was outside Palm Court chatting with a group of fans when the driver of a car was about to reverse into them.
According to reports one of the persons in the group with Benjai knocked on the trunk of the car to alert the driver that he was coming too close to them. The driver of the car reportedly jumped out of the car and confronted the singer over someone knocking on his car.
When Benjai attempted to bring calm to the situation, the young man reportedly started to hurl expletives at the singer while threatening to use his firearm. An eyewitness said it was at that stage that another man whipped out a bottle and lashed the singer.
Earlier in April, Trinidadian attorneys wrote Commissioner of Police, Seelall Persaud, asking for an update on the status of the investigation provided that one has been launched.
The letter was written by attorney Gideon Mc Master, who, alongside Keith Scotland and Joel Roper, represented the interest of Benjai before Anderson was added to the team.
The letter expressed concerns of the police not contacting Banjai since making the report.
It was in that letter that the lawyers identified the perpetrators—Khan and De Abreu.
“We wish to indicate that our client remains willing to assist the Guyana Police Force in any way he can with any proposed and/or ongoing investigation. To that end, we have provided images of the persons whom our client claims to have assaulted him.
“We are also in possession of a dossier of witness statements which we believe might be of assistance to you. We will forward same to your office in due course,” the letter stated.
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