Islamic scholar, Neezam Ali has been committed to stand trial in the High Court for rape, following the conclusion of a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) conducted before Magistrate Alex Moore at the Sparendaam Magistrates’ Court.
Yesterday the Court ruled that there was sufficient evidence against Ali for him to stand trial before a judge and jury at the Supreme Court. This is the second time the Muslim scholar has been committed to stand trial in the High Court.
Ali was 33-years-old at the time he allegedly raped nine boys, who took Quran and Arabic lessons from him. The virtual complainants allege that Ali had penetrative anal intercourse with them while they were minors.
The incident allegedly took place on different occasions as the boys were attending classes at an East Coast Demerara Masjid, between December 2011 and January 2012.
The Muslim Scholar of 268 Section ‘C’ 5 South Turkeyen had previously undergone a Preliminary Inquiry before Magistrate Moore on several counts of sexual activity with a child by abusing a position of trust. He was committed to stand trial for the offence back in 2013.
However shortly after committal, his lawyer, Nigel Hughes, filed an action in the High Court to have the committal overturned. However, this was rejected by the court.
His application was made on several grounds, including that the Magistrate acted in excess of his jurisdiction when he failed to consider the expert opinion of Dr. Walter Ramsahoye, who testified that it was impossible for the accused to commit the act, since he is impotent.
This statement was the essence of Ali’s defence, one which the defence claimed was ignored by the prosecution and the Magistrate.
But Magistrate Moore in response, noted that police witness, Inspector Hatty David, testified that Dr. Ramsahoye’s opinion was formed from information provided by Ali, and was not one which came as result of doctors treating and attending to a medical condition, which the accused suffered, over a period of time.
Eventually, the then acting Chief Justice Ian Chang ruled the court did not see it fit to quash the order of committal of the Magistrate.
Last year, the matter was sent back to the Magistrates’ Courts based on directive of the Director of Public Prosecutions. It was reported that the medical reports and birth certificates of the nine boys involved in the case had allegedly disappeared.
In addition to remitting the matter to the Magistrate, Alex Moore to re-open the paper committals, the DPP also issued a directive to the Guyana Police Force to obtain certified copies of the original documents. The files were eventually reconstructed and the matter placed before the Magistrate’s Court.
Ali’s case first came to light six years ago after the Child Care and Protection Agency received an anonymous tip and officials there began an investigation that led them to the boys, who were then between the ages of four and ten. The alleged victims are now in their teens.
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