A ruling on whether a Magistrate has the authority to hear extradition proceedings for US murder suspect, Troy Thomas, a Guyana native, will be handed down on or before June 15, says High Court Judge Jo Ann Barlow.
This was after the Judge expressed satisfaction that some of the issues raised by lawyers for the State and murder suspect were properly vetted when the matter came up before her yesterday at the High Court in Georgetown.
Since 2012, authorities in the United States had issued a wanted bulletin for the murder suspect, who was held at Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, on March 14, 2018. Thomas is wanted in the US for the December 11, 2011 murder of 20-year-old Keith Frank which occurred in Richmond Hill, New York.
Frank, a father of one, who moved from Guyana to the US when he was 12, was shot and killed outside a Richmond Hill, New York party where he ran into some other men with whom he had an ongoing dispute.
It was reported that Thomas fled to Canada hours after allegedly committing the crime. And hours after he was captured here, Thomas was hauled before Principal Magistrate Sherlock Isaacs-Marcus to face extradition proceedings.
But lawyers for Thomas – Nigel Hughes, Bernard DaSilva and Darren Wade – through a Fixed Date Application (FDA), moved to the High Court in an effort to block the Magistrate from hearing the extradition proceedings which had seen senior officers of the Guyana Police Force testifying.
Apart from arguing that a Magistrate does not have the authority to hear extradition proceedings and that Thomas is being unlawfully detained and subject to the legal process unsupported by any legal basis of foundation, the lawyers have also argued that Thomas is a citizen of Guyana and entitled to the protections of the provisions of the Constitution of Guyana, among over 20 other grounds.
The Magistrate has since put a hold on the extradition proceedings pending the hearing and determination of the High Court matter. In the meantime, Thomas is a remand prisoner.
When the FDA came up yesterday for further arguments, Solicitor General Kim Kyte and Attorney-at-Law Beverly Bishop, who are both representing the State, sought to challenge certain paragraphs of an affidavit filed by the lawyers on behalf of Thomas.
The Solicitor General asked the court to consider that there have been arrangements between some countries whereby an accused person, in this case Guyana-born Roger Khan, was rendered to the US after being captured in Suriname, without facing extradition proceedings.
Bishop asked the court to take note of a recent extradition order handed down by a US Court for Marcus Bisram, who is wanted here for murder, to be sent back in the view of facing a preliminary inquiry into the murder of (Berbice carpenter) Faiyaz Narinedatt.
The lawyer emphasized that the extradition order shows a relationship between Guyana and the US as it relates to fugitive offenders.
Referencing certain sections of the Fugitive Offenders Act of 1988, lawyers for the murder suspect are contending that only the Minister of Public Security is vested the power to issue an authority to proceed with the extradition hearing to the Chief Magistrate.
When asked by the Judge to express her thoughts on this argument, Bishop said that such an authority by the Minister does not infringe on the Magistrate’s functions to inquire if there is sufficient evidence for Thomas to be extradited to the US to face criminal charges.
Justice Barlow in vetting the affidavit filed on behalf of the murder suspect, pointed out that the legal document was sworn to by one Marvin Williams and went on to question Kissoon about the identity of her client.
According to Kissoon, at all times, her client has maintained that his name is Marvin Williams.
However, the Judge in referring to the case jacket filed in the Magistrates’ Courts pointed out that on at least four occasions when the murder suspect appeared before Magistrate Marcus-Isaacs, he answered to the name Troy Thomas and also stood in acknowledgement when the names were summoned in court.
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