Embattled US-based Guyanese businessman, Marcus Bisram, wanted in Guyana to face charges related to the murder of a Berbice carpenter, is fighting tooth-and-nail against extradition.
In a 39-page Memorandum of Law in Opposition filed Friday, Bisram’s lawyer, Mario F. Gallucci, is basing the case on the strength of evidence in Guyana and whether there is an existing extradition arrangement in place between Guyana and the US.
Bisram, arrested last month in New York remains in jail pending the extradition hearings, remains in jail.
US prosecutors had argued he had the money to escape, if allowed on bail.
The matter is before Judge Peggy Kuo in a Brooklyn, New York court.
According to the court documents, Bisram and lawyers will not be contesting that the court has jurisdiction to hear the matter.
The arguments centred on whether there is actually a treaty between the US and the Government in Guyana, while there were issues raised whether there is enough evidence to believe that Bisram committed a crime.
“Counsel understands this is not a trial, but believes that after your Honor hears the lack of evidence and contradictions there could no way our Government should extradite an American citizen to Guyana,” Gallucci said.
The lawyer said that the ongoing court case in Guyana contradicts the case as laid out by prosecutors.
Gallucci explained that Bisram is an American citizen who came to the US with his family when he was 16 years old, where he attended and graduated Hunter College.
“Since that time he has garnered a significant amount of wealth through different business dealings. As a result of this wealth, Mr. Bisram is very philanthropic with the country of Guyana establishing the Marcus Bisram Foundation. This Foundation has donated money to the country to build orphanages, schools and a police department.”
The lawyer said that Bisram donates the money through a yearly festival, in which he travels back to Guyana and makes presentations to the local charities over a few days.
“During his stay he resides with family, he owns no property in Guyana. This incident took place during the November 2016 event. When Mr. Bisram travels to Guyana it is important to note he is given security by the local Police Department, who also act as security during the events.”
The lawyer said that in Guyana, Bisram has dignitary status and that is why he is afforded these accommodations.
Among other things, the businessman is a supporter and sponsor of the Community Policing Groups (CPG) in Guyana.
It was in keeping with this work that he travelled last October to Guyana where he hosted his annual party at his aunt’s home at Corriverton, Berbice.
According to court documents, Faizal Narinedatt, the now dead carpenter was present. He was drunk and misbehaving.
The court papers said it was the police who was providing security at the event that ejected Narinedatt.
“He put up much resistance and it took some effort to have him removed from the premises and he continued to be loud and disruptive outside the premises on the road.”
Bisram denied he gave anyone instructions in relation to Narinedatt’s behaviour.
“When he was being ejected from the premises a scuffle ensued due to his resistance and behavior; he did not want to leave the party and wanted more alcohol to consume. Mr. Bisram had no contact with the said Faizal Narinedatt nor was he involved in any way with ejecting him from the premises. He was aware that he was being ejected and nothing else.”
Bisram claimed he departed Guyana as scheduled and did not flee as was reported.
“Mr. Bisram is unaware whether any of the other persons with whom he is charged were the persons who were involved in ejecting Faizal Narinedatt from the premises and is aware he was put outside and left there.”
The court documents said that on lst November 2016, the body of Narinedatt was discovered on the No. 70 Public Road, Corentyne, Berbice. Police ruled it a road accident but it was later changed to be one of murder “following strong pressure from the deceased’s family”, Bisram said in his court documents.
Bisram said that on November 24th, the Director of Public Prosecutions advised charges of murder against Bisram along with Orlando Dickie, Radesh Moti, Doidath Datt, Harry Paul Parsram and Niran Yacoob. “Mr. Bisram was specifically charged with counseling, procuring and commanding the alleged murder.”
Bisram claimed in the court documents that the main witness is a child.
“This child is uneducated and does not have the ability to read or write and as a matter of fact his initial statement taken by the police was acknowledged by his fingerprint.”
Bisram argued that every witness who gave a statement in November to police in Guyana has since re-canted their statements.
“These hearings are still ongoing and are commencing again on August 27. At these hearing it is quite possible the local judge (magistrate) could rule that there is no evidence sufficient for the case against Mr. Bisram to go forward.”
The court documents said that although Bisram was initially charged, these were dropped but later re-instated “but for procedural purposes only”.
In Guyana, Bisram is represented by attorney-at-law, Sanjeev Datadin.
Meanwhile, in relation to the extradition treaty that Guyana is using, Bisram’s lawyer noted that while the government summarily concludes that there is a treaty in full force and effect between the United States and Guyana, the defendant respectfully disagrees.
“The prosecution relies on the 1931 treaty between the United States and the United Kingdom. At the time Guyana was a territory of the United Kingdom. However, Guyana obtained its independence in 1966. Although that treaty has been honored to some degree in the time since, its “full force and effect” has been called in to doubt by the Supreme Court of Judicature, Guyana,” the court documents said.
The lawyer further argued that the issue lies in whether the act is contradicted by the Fugitive Offenders Act of 1988. “The issue was discussed at length in the Mauer of Barry Dataram which was decided by the Full Court of the Supreme Court of Judicature, Guyana.
The Guyanese legislature acknowledged the issue by Guyana’s passing of the Fugitive Offender’s Amendment Act of 2009. A true and accurate Copy of the amendment is attached hereto as Exhibit B.
However, as this act is not binding on the Courts of the United States, the issue remains open. Thus, it cannot be said that the treaty remains in “full force and effect.” Since 2009, it does not appear that any United States Citizens have been extradited to Guyana. This would be an issue of first impression.
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