The ongoing session of the Demerara criminal assizes has seen eight persons accused of murder opting to plead guilty to the lesser count o
f manslaughter. They were encouraged by their lawyers to admit their guilt in return for shorter jail terms. This option is however available to all accused persons who wish to own up that they acted contrary to the law and will to do the punishment.
The April session of the assizes comes to an end on Friday, and the three judges who have been roistered to sit have already completed a number of cases for murder, manslaughter and various types of sexual offences.
Justice Navindra Singh has accepted guilty pleas for manslaughter from eight persons who were initially indicted for the capital offence murder.
These confessed killers were handed terms of imprisonment ranging from 16, to 14 to 12 to 10 years.
Justice Singh in arriving at an appropriate sentence for these criminals considered aggravating and mitigating factors. Aggravating factors may include the brutality of the crime and the accused person’s criminal history. On the other hand, mitigating factors tend to reduce sentences and may include the accused person’s lack of criminal
history and his acceptance of responsibility for the crime.
The Judge allowed each of the accused to address the court. Most of them expressed that they were sorry for their actions and vowed to change when they are released from prison. Justice Singh advised the criminals to use their time in prison to better develop themselves for release back into society.
In addition, the judge ordered that the prison authorities are to deduct the time the confessed killers spent in pre-trial custody from their respective sentence.
Last week Friday, Rondel Bacchus who was charged with the July 2008 murder of scrap metal dealer Akbar Alli, was sentenced to 16 years’ and eight months’ imprisonment after he pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.
On May 14, a 47-year-old farmer admitted to stabbing his neighbour to death during a fight and was sent to prison for 14 years. Though initially charged for murder, Godfrey Dass, of Port Kaituma, North West District, appeared before Justice Navindra Singh at the High Court in Georgetown where he pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
Dass confessed that on June 5, 2009, he unlawfully killed Kenneth Kennedy, his neighbour.
The court was told that the two men were imbibing when a fight broke out between them. Dass armed himself with a knife and stabbed his neighbour to the head, resulting in his death.
Then on April 25, Mark Creame, 24, pleaded guilty to a manslaughter charge, thereby admitting that on December 1, 2013, he unlawfully killed Terry Henry, c/d Terrence Henry.
Creame was sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment for the crime.
According to the facts, Creame and Henry had an ongoing dispute. On the day in question, Creame, who was intoxicated, saw Henry at a shop and confronted him. They had an argument and Creame left the scene and returned with a cutlass which he used to chop Henry, who was lying in a hammock. The killing occurred at 8 miles North West District, Port Kaituma.
A 14-year jail sentence was handed to Marc Angoy, a former soldier, after he admitted to killing 13-month old Arianne Gill, the granddaughter of his ex-lover, Shelly Norton. Angoy, 48, had appeared befo
re Justice Singh on April 2 and admitted to killing the toddler on October 18, 2015.
According to reports, Angoy shot and killed his ex-lover’s grandbaby and wounded the woman’s daughter, Ashley Wellington.
The incident occurred around 13:45 hrs at Lot 38 East Ville, Annandale, East Coast Demerara.
According to reports, Norton, who was the toddler’s grandmother and Wellington’s mother, had ended an abusive three-year-old relationship with Angoy. Since then, he reportedly started to harass her. At times he even threatened to kill her.
This forced her to seek a restraining order to keep him away from her family. However, on the day in question he showed up at her home and pushed his hand through a window and opened fire on Norton’s daughter and grand baby while they were watching television in the living room.
Tyrone Rowe, also known as ‘Cobra’, was sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment for the almost decade-old killing of Troy Collymore who was shot dead on August 5, 2010 at Plaisance, East Coast Demerara.
Rowe appeared before Justice Navindra Singh who had in 2013 sentenced him to 78 years’ imprisonment after he was found guilty by a jury for the murder of Collymore, 35. However, the conviction and sentence were overturned and a new trial was ordered by the Court of Appeal last July. That trial was aborted and a new trial was once again ordered by the High Court
According to reports, on the day in question, Collymore and two other men were outside a business place owned by Datt at Plaisance, East Coast Demerara, when they were attacked by gunmen. During that time, one of them was shot and relieved of cash and a quantity of jewellery. Collymore was shot to the head and was declared ‘brain dead’ by doctors. He succumbed two days later.
Similarly, 35-year-old Ignatius France had a change of heart as his murder trial wound down before Justice Singh and a 12-member jury at the High Court in Georgetown. He threw himself at the mercy of the court when he discontinued the trial, after opting to plead guilty to the lesser charge manslaughter.
He, too, was sentenced to 12 years’ behind bars for the crime.
France admitted that on May 11, 2012 at Canal Bank, Port Kaituma, he unlawfully killed Mark Ashby. According to information, on the day in question, France and his brother were out drinking when they got into an argument. Both brothers were reportedly intoxicated and during the argument, they began to fight.
While they fought, the now dead Ashby reportedly came up to the brothers, allegedly drunk himself, and ordered the brothers to stop fighting. Subsequently, a fight erupted between France and Ashby. France left the fight and returned with a cutlass, which he used to chop Ashby to the neck.
John Hetsberger,23, who was described as a “model prisoner” by his lawyer was on April 5 handed a 10-year sentence after pleading guilty to a manslaughter charge, admitting that on August 08, 2014, he unlawfully killed 57-year-old Jennifer Mendonca, formerly of Prince William Street, Plaisance, East Coast Demerara.
Based on information, Mendonca was found dead in her bed by her son. Her hands were bound with duct-tape and a plastic bag was tied over her head, two pillows were also placed on her face. A post mortem examination determined the cause of death to be asphyxia due to strangulation and blunt trauma to the head.
Also, Martin Salvadore, 54, was sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment for chopping a man to death during a drunken brawl on October 16, 2014 in Essequibo. Initially, Salvadore was charged with the capital offence, murder. He, however, opted to plead guilty to the lesser count manslaughter when he appeared in court.
According to facts presented by State Prosecutor Teriq Mohamed, on the day in question the now deceased Wilson James was at Salvadore’s home imbibing when they became involved in a fight. During that time, Wilson picked up a bicycle bar which he used to lash Salvadore. In turn, Salvadore armed himself with a cutlass which he used to chop Wilson about his body.
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