Elmo Benedict and Dave Banwarie who were both sentenced to death for the March 3, 2008 murder of Rakesh Rajaram which occurred at Sand Hills,
Berbice River, will know their fate on Tuesday, May 28, when the Court of Appeal will hand down its ruling.
Following the hearing of arguments, the court had reserved its ruling on whether it will allow or dismiss the appeal.
In the event of the appeal being allowed, in keeping with the arguments adduced, the conviction and death sentence could be quashed.
Benedict and Banwarie were sentenced to death back in 2012 by Justice James Bovell-Drakes at the High Court in Berbice after the jury returned unanimous guilty verdicts. Subsequently, they applied to the Court of Appeal for a review.
The two death row inmates were represented by Attorney-at-Law Mark Conway, while Attorney-at-Law Diana Kaulesar, appeared for the State. Conway essentially argued that the killing was not intentional, since his clients after realizing that Rajaram was seriously injured, took him to the hospital.
The lawyer further argued that the learned trial judge failed to ask the jury to consider the lesser offence manslaughter.
Banwarie, 27, and Benedict, 25, are accused of killing Rakesh Rajaram on March 1, 2008, at Sand Hills. Rajaram, who hailed from Kortbraadt, East Bank Berbice, had reportedly fled his home after he was unable to pay an affiliation fee and had racked up hefty arrears.
He relocated to Sand Hills where he was employed as a coal miner. He sought refuge at the home of a family in the area and became involved with a teenage daughter of his host. Rajaram’s involvement with the teenager reportedly angered her parents, since she was already involved with someone else and they ordered him to leave their premises, which he did.
However he stayed in the area and constructed a shack not too far from his former host. Sometime after it is understood that Rajaram, armed with an improvised shotgun, abducted the girl from her home and took her to a clump of bushes in the area.
This furthered angered the girl’s relatives and it was alleged that the woman’s intended partner and a close relative armed themselves with cutlasses and went in search of Rajaram. He was later chopped to death. An autopsy report recorded the cause of death as due to shock and haemorrhage, along with multiple cuts.
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