According to information from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), 32 out of 229 cases were disposed of at the January session of the Demerara Criminal Assizes.
During that time, Justice James Bovell-Drakes, Justice Navindra Singh and Madam Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall heard a total of 24 cases. The remaining eight were nolle prosequi by the DPP.
Of these 24 cases presented at the High Court in Georgetown, 12 were for the offence of murder, 11 for sexual
offences and one for the offence of attempted murder with an alternative count of wounding with intent.
There were four guilty pleas, 10 convictions, seven not guilty verdicts by jury and three formal verdicts of not guilty. Ten of the 24 cases were prosecuted by State Counsel Abigail Gibbs, State Counsel Tiffiny Lyken and State Counsel Natasha Backer before Justice Navindra Singh.
Of the 10 cases, nine were for the offence of murder, while one was for attempted murder.
ln three of the eight murder trials, the accused persons pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and were sentenced respectively to 12 and half years imprisonment, 10 years imprisonment and 23 years imprisonment. In another two murder cases, the accused were found unanimously guilty by the jurors.
They were respectively sentenced to 70 years and 80 years imprisonment.
In another two matters, no case submissions were upheld and the jurors were directed to return formal verdicts of not guilty. In the other matter the accused was acquitted after the jury returned a not guilty verdict for the offences of murder and manslaughter. While in one other murder case, the accused was found unanimously guilty by the jury. The accused will be sentenced during April pending a probation report. While in the other matter for the offence of attempted murder the accused was acquitted by the jury.
Another 11 of these 24 cases were prosecuted by State Counsel Orinthia Schmidt, State Counsel Narissa Leander and State Counsel Seeta Bishundial in the Sexual Offences Court. Madam Justice Simone Ramlall was the trial judge.
Of these 11 sexual offences cases, four were for the offence of Rape. In two of these matters, the accused were found guilty by jury and sentenced respectively to 45 years and 40 years imprisonment.
In the one other matter, the trial judge up held a no case submission and directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. And in the one other case, the accused was acquitted by the jury which returned a
unanimous verdict of not guilty.
ln another five matters for the offence of Sexual Activity with a Child Family Member, one accused was sentenced to life imprisonment and must serve 45 years before becoming eligible for parole. Another accused who was indicted on four counts was found guilty by the jury and given two life sentences which are to run
concurrently, with a minimum of 40 years to be served before being eligible for parole.
The accused in one other matter was found guilty and sentenced to nine years imprisonment. In another two of these cases, both accused were acquitted by the jury
There were two matters for the offence of Rape of a Child under 16 years. In one case, the accused was found guilty by a jury and sentenced to 30 years imprisonment.
The other accused who was indicted on four counts was also found unanimously guilty and sentenced to two life sentences, which are to run consecutively.
Meanwhile, State Counsel Mandel Moore and State Counsel Lisa Cave prosecuted three matters for the offence of murder before Justice James Bovell-Drakes. In two of these matters, the jury returned unanimous verdicts of not guilty.
In one of them, the state served Notice of Intention to Appeal. In the one other matter, the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and was sentenced to 15 years imprisonment.
The eight matters nolle prosequi by the DPP were for Sexual Offences. The complainants in these matters indicated in written statements that they did not wish to proceed with their matters.
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