The chamber of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has reported that 29 cases were disposed of at the January session of the Demerara criminal assizes which commenced on January 8, at the High Court in Georgetown.
During this time, Justice James Bovell-Drakes, Justice Navindra Singh and Madam Justice Jo-Ann Barlow were rostered to sit. Of the 260 cases listed to be heard at this session, 29 were completed. 28 were presented by the DPP, while one was nolle prosequi.
Of these 28 cases presented, 13 were for murder, one for manslaughter and 14 sexual offences. There were six guilty pleas, seven convictions, nine not guilty verdicts by jury, five formal verdicts of not guilty and one hung jury.
Of the 28 cases presented in the High Court, 12 were prosecuted by State Counsel Tuanna Hardy, Abigail Gibbs and Teriq Mohamed before Justice Navindra Singh. Of these 12 cases, 10 were for murder and one case for sexual activity with a child by abusing a position of trust. There was another for manslaughter.
ln four of these 10 murder trials the accused persons pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and were sentenced to 14, 16, 12 and 20 years’ imprisonment. In another three trials, the jury returned unanimous verdicts of guilty for the accused who were respectively sentenced to 30, 100 and 80 years’ imprisonment.
One of these accused was found guilty for manslaughter. In three other murder cases the accused persons were acquitted. ln the lone sexual offence matter, the accused was sentenced to 45 years’ imprisonment after the jury found him unanimously guilty.
There was one case for the offence of manslaughter in which a no-case submission was upheld by the trial judge.
Thirteen sexual offenses cases were prosecuted by State Counsel Lisa Cave, Seeta Bishundial and Sarah Martin in the Sexual Offences Court before Justice Jo-Ann Barlow.
Of these 13, one was for Rape, two for Carnal knowledge of a girl under 15 years, four for the offence of sexual activity with a child family member and six for rape of a child under 16 years.
In three of these sexual offences cases, the trial judge directed the jury to return formal verdicts of not guilty because the complainants did not attend court or testified that they did not wish to proceed with the evidence against the accused.
ln one other case, the accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 21 years’ imprisonment. While another accused was sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment after he was found guilty by the jury for two counts of sexual activity with a child family member.
In the other cases, the accused were acquitted by jury verdicts of not guilty. There was one hung jury in a case for rape of a child under 16 years. In two other matters, the jury returned guilty verdicts for both accused.
In both cases, the court ordered probation reports and these will be presented on April 5, when the two accused will be sentenced.
State Counsel Tamieka Clarke and Tiffini Lyken completed three matters for the offence of murder before Justice James Bovell-Drakes. In two of these matters the accused were both acquitted by jury verdicts of not guilty.
In the one other case, the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment.
One matter was nolle prosequi by the DPP. The accused in this matter was indicted for attempt to commit murder, discharging a loaded firearm with intent, wounding with intent, unlawful possession of ammunition and setting fire to a public building.
The indictment was nolle prosequi pursuant to a court order granted on October 13, 2017 by a High Court Judge and entered on October 17, 2017, but was never served on the DPP.
The Demerara criminal assizes will commence next Tuesday, April 2. Justice James Bovell-Drakes, Justice Navindra Singh and Justice Brassington Reynolds have been rostered to sit.
A total of 259 cases are listed.
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