Dec 03, 2020 News
Kaieteur News – The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has reduced a murder charge to manslaughter for two police ranks accused of killing an unarmed civilian. Cecil Sampat, 39, was among four men in a car that came under rapid gunfire from several police officers on July 25 last, along Mandela Avenue, Georgetown.
Sampat and the driver of the car, Winston Frazer, had received multiple gunshot wounds.
However, Sampat died on August 5 last, while receiving treatment at the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC). The driver, Frazer, survived but has been left paralyzed.
The police ranks claimed that the men in the car were armed and had fired at them.
An investigation later revealed that no firearm was recovered from the men in the car to support the claims.
Several officers were then placed under close arrest and a special team conducted a probe into the matter.
On August 14, two ranks, Corporal Godwin Thomas and Constable Troy Munroe were remanded to prison for the murder of Sampat, but this newspaper has learnt that the DPP has directed that the murder charge against them be discontinued and that they be recharged for manslaughter instead.
Kaieteur News understands that while Thomas and Monroe have not yet been officially recharged with manslaughter they were both released on $500,000 bail each since last Thursday.
Sources claim that a presidential guard is expected to join Monroe and Thomas in being charged with manslaughter for Sampat’s death.
Meanwhile, Sampat’s family says they have been kept in the dark about the developments.
“We were left in the dark,” said one of his relatives. “We went to court on Monday and it was only then that we were told that the defendants have been released since last Thursday,” the individual continued. “It was only then too, that we are told that the DPP has [directed] that manslaughter be instituted against them instead of murder,” the relative noted.
As the family awaits the announcement of a new court date, Frazer’s wife on the other hand has said that she has not been contacted by the authorities since he left hospital.
She too wants some form of justice. “No one is telling me anything about the investigations,” she said.
“There are still bullet fragments lodged in my husband’s spine, he chose not to do the surgery because doctors said it was a 50/50 chance of survival,” continued the woman. “He is alive yes but he is bedridden; he is paralyzed and has suffered multiple health complications, I need justice too,” she added.
On July 25, Frazer and Sampat had gone bar hopping with two other friends, Seon Greenidge and Joshua Letlow, in a car.
They were reportedly at Agricola imbibing when Sampat said he wanted to go home. While leaving, Greenidge recalled that they saw some men, in a parked white pick-up, trying to stop them. The survivors claimed that they did not know it was police and continued on their way.
At Houston, they said the same white pick-up switched on siren lights. Greenidge had told Kaieteur News, that he could not speak on behalf of Frazer (the driver) as to why he did not stop but speculated that it might have been because they were under the influence of alcohol and breeching the COVID-19 curfew measures.
Minutes later, they came under gunfire from patrol ranks on Mandela Avenue.
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