Jan 01, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – An appeal has been filed on behalf of Kurt Thomas called ‘Yankee’ or ‘Deportee,’ to overturn the conviction and 70 years jail sentence he received for the April 2016 murder of Parika, East Bank Essequibo (EBE) fuel dealer, Seeram Singh.
Thomas was found guilty of the murder of Singh on November 12 by a mixed 12-member jury in the High Court. He was subsequently sentenced to 70 years in jail by Justice Navindra Singh, who ordered that he only be eligible for parole after serving 40 years behind bars.
However, in his appeal document which was drafted by his lawyer, Lydon Amsterdam, Thomas is asking that his conviction and sentence be set aside. He claims, among other things, that the trial judge during his summation of the evidence to the jury posed several rhetorical questions for their consideration, which were prejudicial to him and may have influenced the jury in their deliberation of the evidence to arrive at a verdict, unfavourable to him.
Added to this, Thomas contends that the witnesses, who gave evidence that was conflicting, were not called at the trial.
As it regards the sentence, Thomas asks the appeal to consider that it is too severe in all the circumstances of the case. “The learned trial judge utilized a formula in passing the sentence of 70 years that is without legal basis and he failed to take into account the established sentencing guidelines and gave the accused a sentence that was inconsistent with the current sentencing practice,” the document stated.
During his trial in the High Court, Thomas was implicated in the crime by several witnesses including eyewitness, Rajmohan Autar.
In his evidence, Autar told the court that he operated a shop in the area where the shooting took place. He recalled that he had seen the accused pacing the area, and that he even purchased a Guinness at his shop before the robbery. The witness had claimed that he was inside his shop when he heard a commotion.
He claimed that when he came outside, he saw the fuel dealer being chased by the man who had been pacing the area earlier. Thomas was tugging at a gold chain.
Autar claimed that there was a struggle between the victim and his robber, who was armed with a gun and that Seeram was shot in the process.
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