— Cites unreasonable time
Three years after the trial of Bartica Massacre killer, Royden Williams called ‘Smallie’ and Sherwin Nero called ‘Catty’ for the August 2007 murder of Kumar Singh called ‘Mango Man’, was aborted by Justice Navindra Singh at the High Court in Georgetown, the matter came up yesterday before Justice Brassington Reynolds.
But the trial did not commence, after Attorney-at-Law Nigel Hughes presented arguments for the indictment to be discharged against the two murder accused, during submissions at the High Court in Georgetown. Their trial was aborted in June 2014, after Williams sacked his state-assigned Attorney-at-Law.
Among those reasons for the indictment to be discharged, Hughes cited Article 144 of the Constitution of Guyana which guarantees Williams and Nero a fair trial within reasonable time.
The Attorney-at-Law also cited a recent ruling made by the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in the case of convicted drug trafficker Vishnu Bridgelall and the State of Guyana.
In that case, the CCJ rule that it was entitled to examine the circumstances of the delay in the determination of Bridgelall’s appeal by the Court of Appeal and found that the delay was inexcusable and a violation of Bridgelall’s Constitutional Rights.
In addition, Hughes argued that his clients were first charged in 2008 for the offence and were committed to stand trial at the High Court in 2012. The lawyer contended that the men spent nine years on remand pending trial—this he noted was unreasonable and a breach of their constitutional rights.
Hughes indicated to the court that he filed a Constitutional Motion on behalf of Nero, outlining that the delay in getting his trial started was unconstitutional, since a witness who would have been called in his defence died some two years ago.
The hearing for the Constitutional Motion comes up on Friday before Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George; while the matter before Justice Reynolds has been adjourned until November 23.
According to reports, Singh, who was 51 year-old at the time, was shot after gunmen stormed his home at 51 Craig Milne, Cove and John, East Bank Demerara on August 30, 2007, and terrorized his family.
The gunmen also shot at his family members during the ordeal before escaping on foot. Singh sustained several gunshot wounds and died while undergoing surgery at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation.
Earlier this year, Williams was sentenced to death after being found guilty on 12 counts of murder.
He was convicted for killing 12 persons at Bartica in 2008 before now Chief Justice (ag) Roxanne George at the High Court in Georgetown.
Those he murdered were Police Lance Corporal Zaheer Zakir, Police Constable Shane Fredericks and Constable Ron Osborne; Edwin Gilkes, Abdool Yassin Jr, Deonarine Singh, Errol Thomas, Ronald Gomes, Baldeo Singh, Ashraf Khan, Irving Ferreira and Dexter Adrian.
Williams was among several high profile prisoners who broke out of the Camp Street prison during a fire on July 9. But he was recaptured on October 9, at Weldaad, West Coast Berbice, during a Joint Services operation. Williams, who was regarded as the most dangerous among the escapees, was at the time travelling in a minibus.
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