Moments after his counsel petitioned the court for mercy, Travis McDougall was yesterday sentenced to 25 years in prison for killing Pike Street businessman, Ashok Raghoo. The sentenced was handed down by Justice Navindra Singh.
McDougall, a labourer from East Ruimveldt Housing Scheme, Georgetown, was last month convicted for killing the businessman. He was found guilty of manslaughter by a mixed 12-member jury at the Georgetown High Court.
Raghoo, a dredge owner from Pike Street, Kitty, was gunned down at the intersection near the Botanical Gardens on Monday August 18, 2014. He was shot during a robbery which was carried out by two men on a motorcycle. The 43-year-old businessman had stopped at the traffic light on Vlissengen Road in the vicinity of the Gardens while en route to downtown Georgetown to conduct business.
The gunman also shot the man’s wife, Shyrazadi Raghoo, and snatched a bag containing some $4M before escaping. McDougall was subsequently arrested and charged for the murder of Raghoo. He was identified as the rider of the getaway motorcycle that was used in the robbery.
Another man, Jermaine Otto was identified as the shooter. He was also charged with murder. Otto, however, perished in a fire which occurred at the Camp Street Prison, on March 3, last year.
McDougall was therefore the sole accused to stand trial before Justice Singh.
Before the sentence was handed down yesterday, Attorney-at–law, Nigel Hughes made a stirring plea for the court to have mercy while imposing a sentence on his client. Hughes’ presentation came moments after a probation report was tendered on behalf of McDougall.
Relying on information outlined in the probation report, the attorney posited that his client got off to a bit of rough start in life; his father passed away when he was quite young.
As a result, the accused was raised by his mother in the neighbourhood of East Ruimveldt.
Hughes noted that for the most part, McDougall navigated through his life avoiding any trouble with the law.
The lawyer emphasized that his client does not have a history of crime, except for this incident, which unfortunately led to the death of Raghoo.
The Attorney therefore held that McDougall is capable of redemption.
Hughes asked that the court visit a sentence upon McDougall which would allow him the opportunity to return to society and make a meaningful contribution.
He asserted that his client was remorseful over the incident and desperately wants an opportunity to play a part in the life of his children.
State Prosecutor Tuanna Hardy on the other hand, asked that the court hand down a sentence commensurate with the act that was committed.
The Prosecutor noted that McDougall was found guilty of killing not just a businessman, but a husband and father.
When he was given the opportunity to address the court, McDougall maintained his innocence. “I am sorry that the jury did not believe me that I did not kill anyone,” he stated. McDougall also expressed his regret to the family of the deceased for the life lost.
Before sentencing McDougall to 25 years in jail, the Judge noted that while he had maintained his innocence of shooting the businessman, the evidence of the case pointed to him having knowledge of the robbery.
“You would have had some knowledge of that a crime would have been committed that day,” the Judge asserted.
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