By Feona Morrison
“I apologize to the court. I apologize to the deceased’s family and I am begging (the court) for mercy. Gave me a second chance,” 30-year-old confessed killer Ravindra Paremdass said before he was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for manslaughter.
Paremdass, formerly of Providence, East Bank Demerara, was handed the custodial sentence by Justice James Bovell-Drakes, yesterday, at the High Court in Georgetown.
Earlier this month, Paremdass was arraigned before the said Judge on a murder indictment.
It was alleged that between December 20, and December 21, 2012, at Providence, East Bank Demerara, he killed Roopram Jagdeo, called ‘Lil Baby’ and ‘Rabbit’.
Paremdass, who was represented by Attorney-at-Law Maxwell McKay, opted to plead guilty to the lesser offence manslaughter, thereby admitting that he unlawfully killed Jagdeo.
According to reports, Jagdeo was killed following an altercation with Paremdass who dealt him several blows to the head with a length of wood during an argument over a bicycle.
During his murder trial in 2015, Paremdass had told the court that the incident was as a result of a fight, which Jagdeo started.
He had claimed that Jagdeo had threatened to kill him with a piece of wood after he refused to lend his bicycle. Paremdass explained that during the confrontation with Jagdeo, he sustained injuries to the head. He said that he then went into Jagdeo’s yard and dealt him lashes with another piece of wood.
That same year, a 12-member jury convicted Paremdass of the crime and he was sentenced to 57 years in prison by the trial Judge.
However, being dissatisfied with the conviction and sentence, Paremdass asked the Court of Appeal to review his case on the grounds that, among other things, the trial judge failed to put his defence of self-defence to the jury in accordance with the law.
After deliberations, the appellate judges, including Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards, agreed that the trial judge was duty bound to do so, and in the interest of justice the conviction and sentence were overturned.
This means that the case was remitted to the High Court for a new trial during the current session of the Demerara criminal assizes. During the presentation of a probation report, it was revealed that
Paremdass indicated that he never intended to kill Jagdeo.
The probation officer said that Paremdass told her that he and Jagdeo were involved in a fight and he retaliated because he thought he would have been killed. Nevertheless, the probation officer said that Jagdeo is seeking forgiveness from the wife, children and other relatives of the deceased.
Meanwhile, Jagdeo’s widow told the probation officer that the death of her husband has had significant impact on her family. She said that her children are angry at the fact that they were deprived of a father’s love. As a result of Jagdeo’s untimely passing, the woman said she was forced to gain employment as a domestic worker to sustain her family.
The wife, however, indicated she hopes justice prevails and that Paremdass gets a sentence that is duly fitting for the crime.
Jagdeo was born and raised on the Essequibo Coast. The probation report revealed that he moved to the East Bank of Demerara shortly after his mother’s death in 2008. He was then 19.
According to the probation report, Jagdeo described his childhood as “good” although he dropped out of school at Grade 10 due to economic constraints. But this shortcoming did not discourage him from seeking employment to assist his other siblings.
The probation officer told the court that based on investigations Paremdass once shared a harmonious relationship with the dead man’s family. She added that a few of Paremdass’s co-workers had nothing bad to say about him, apart from him being an alcoholic.
She further added that residents in Providence also said that he was in the habit of consuming alcohol regularly, and on some occasions he and Jagdeo would be seen imbibing.
According to the probation report, Paremdass, who once followed Hinduism, became a Christian during his time in pre-trial custody. Added to that, he received a certificate after successfully completing a tailoring course while at the Mazaruni Prison, and has been taking anger management classes.
Before imposing sentence, Justice Bovell-Drakes told Paremdass that he hopes his time in jail would be a wakeup call for him. The judge explained that consuming excessive alcohol can cause people to do unusual things, and in this case, it resulted in the loss of a life.
Admitting that sentencing someone is not an easy thing to do, Justice Bovell-Drakes noted that despite all the positive things said about Paremdass in the probation report, a strong message has to be sent to society that such acts will not be tolerated.
“I am warning you, if somebody tries to interfere with you run, do not walk,” the Judge advised Paremdass before he was taken away to begin serving the jail time.
State Counsel Tamieka Clarke and State Counsel Tiffini Lyken presented the case for the prosecution.
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