Mar 05, 2021 News
Kaieteur News – An offer was made to have murder accused Lennox Wayne called ‘Two Colours’ plead guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter for the unlawful killing of Lusignan cosmetologist, Ashmini Harriram.
This is according a statement issued by the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The statement followed reports that the murder accused has filed a civil suit in court to challenge the State’s right to hold him for over seven years. Wayne is alleging that his rights to a fair hearing have been infringed upon.
However in response to the case, the DPP issued a statement clarifying that the accused has the option of pleading guilty to the lesser crime.
The statement stipulated that “on several occasions, Wayne has indicated that his wish was to plead guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter; the last indication was made in November 2020.
[However] on each of these occasions, after the State commenced preparation for the taking of his guilty plea, he changed his decision, which he is entitled to do.”
The DPP noted that although the accused seems to have taken a different route to address the matter, the State is willing to accept his guilty plea to the lesser offence of manslaughter.
Wayne and his co-accused, Melroy Doris, had been incarcerated since 2014 over the murder of the Lusignan cosmetologist.
Harriram was shot in the neck moments after she disembarked a minibus along the Lusignan Railway Embankment, East Coast Demerara, on Thursday, July 10, 2014.
Back in 2017, Wayne and his co-accused faced a trial in the High Court but were remanded to prison after the jury failed to meet a verdict for the murder charge, which they faced.
Following the verdict, Trial Judge, Jo Ann Barlow, had informed the accused the hung jury meant that they “will have to remain in custody and undergo another trial during another session of the Demerara Criminal Assizes.”
Ever since then the duo has been behind bars.
Wayne has since filed civil proceedings against the State over what he calls a breach of right to a fair hearing.
Through his attorney, Nigel Hughes, Wayne is asking the High Court for several orders, including an order to admit him on bail pending the hearing and determination of his Fixed Date Application (FDA) challenging his incarceration.
He also wants a permanent stay of the murder charge and a declaration that his rights, guaranteed by the provisions of Article 144 of the Constitution of Guyana, have been infringed.
According to court documents seen by this newspaper, the murder accused also filed for damages in excess of $100,000 for a breach of his fundamental right to a fair hearing as guaranteed by the provisions of Article 144 of the Constitution of Guyana.
In an affidavit to support his claim, the applicant asks the Court to consider inter alia that he had been incarcerated for the crime since October 2014.
He said that he has been awaiting trial since November 2015, after he committed to stand trial in the High Court by a Magistrate. Since then, Wayne explained that he underwent a trial, which ended in a hung jury in 2017, but ever since, he has not been afforded the opportunity to go before the Court.
The applicant said too, that his name was listed for retrial in the 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021, but his case never came up.
According to him, while he languished in jail, all attempts made by him to expedite his trial had proven futile.
He noted that his concerns over the delay were raised at the level of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), but were not addressed. Wayne listed a number of other avenues, which attempted to get his concerns over the delayed trial addressed, but to no avail.
In the circumstances, the murder accused said that he believes that his rights to a fair trial as guaranteed by the Constitution have been impeded. He is hoping that the High Court will address his concerns and grant the reliefs sought.
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