Jul 24, 2022 News
The Court Journal
By Renay Sambach
Kaieteur News – This week I will rehash two matters involving two members of the Guyana Police Force (GPF) – one has been charged for murder and the other for manslaughter.
Notably, one of the police ranks has already been committed to face a judge and jury for the offence he is charged for and the other matter only recently commenced at the Magistracy level.
The first, and ever so popular matter is that of the killing of Quindon Bacchus, a 23-year-old resident of Haslington, East Coast Demerara (ECD), who was fatally shot on June 10, 2022.
Charged in relation to his killing is Kristoff DeNobrega, a 22-year-old policeman. DeNobrega is charged with the capital offence of murder. According to Article 101 of the Criminal Law Offence Act, anyone who commits murder shall be guilty of a felony and liable to suffer death as a felon.
DeNobrega of Liliendaal, Greater Georgetown, had made his first court appearance on July 5, last, via Zoom before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan. He was not required to enter a plea to the indictable charge which states that on June 10, 2022, he shot and killed Bacchus at Haslington Housing Scheme, ECD.
On Tuesday last, DeNobrega appeared before Senior Magistrate Fabayo Azore at the Cove and John Magistrate’s Court. He was represented by attorney-at-law Bernard DaSilva.
The magistrate has set October 5, 2022, as the date for the prosecution to hand over to the defence the evidence in the matter. Thereafter, a date will be set to commence the preliminary inquiry (PI).
According to reports, DeNobrega alleged in his initial statement to police that Bacchus had shot at him first during a sting operation and he was forced to return fire.
However, on the first hearing the court heard from the police prosecutor that after ballistic tests were done, it is possible that Bacchus never shot at the policeman because the gun found in his possession was “not in working order.”
The court had also heard that Bacchus was shot seven times and not six as was initially reported.
According to reports, Bacchus was shot during an alleged ‘sting operation’. Police had alleged that Bacchus was in possession of an illegal weapon and wanted to sell it. DeNobrega, who was said to be undercover at the time, had gone to transact business with him.
During the transaction the police rank reportedly shot Bacchus dead. CCTV footage captured the moment shots were fired.
After Bacchus’ death, his family members had staged a protest during which they called for a thorough investigation into his shooting.
It was later announced that the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) was investigating the matter.
Subsequently, reports had surfaced that the accused had been released from custody. This led to Bacchus’ relatives concluding that the suspect was freed and therefore justice would not be served. This led to them staging another protest on the lower East Coast Demerara, which was reportedly infiltrated by hooligans and turned into mayhem.
The result, vendors at the Mon Repos Market were robbed, stalls were looted, vehicles were destroyed and some individuals were even beaten.
Bacchus’ relatives had condemned the violence and publicly stated that they had no part to play in the mayhem. They’d even made a public call for persons to desist from such actions.
Police later made it clear that the reports of the accused being freed were false and had assured the family that DeNobrega was still in custody but on “open arrest”.
On Sunday July 3, 2022, the PCA finally announced that its probe into Bacchus’ shooting was over and recommended that three officers be charged for their role in his death. A report was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Shalimar Ali Hack, SC, for her to advice on the charges for each officer.
While the report was being reviewed, Bacchus’ family decided to join opposition members of parliament for yet another protest, this time at Buxton, ECD. There they revealed that they will not stop in their pursuit for justice until DeNobrega is convicted and placed behind bars. They also made a public call for police brutality in Guyana to end.
The DPP, in offering her advice, recommended that DeNobrega be charged with murder and that the two other policemen, Thurston Simon and Dameion McLennan, be charged with obstruction of justice. The two have also been remanded.
In the other matter, Police Constable, Sherwin Peters of Amelia’s Ward, Linden, was on Thursday, July 7, last, committed to stand trial in the High Court, for the killing of Essequibo Coast businessman, Orin Boston.
Peters was charged with manslaughter. According to Article 95 of the Criminal Law Offences Act, anyone who commits manslaughter shall be guilty of a felony and liable to imprisonment for life.
The 32-year-old accused is a member of the GPF Special Weapons And Tactics (SWAT) unit. He was committed by Magistrate Esther Sam, at the Suddie Magistrate’s Court.
Following the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) into the matter, Magistrate Sam ruled that there was sufficient evidence for Peters to stand trial for manslaughter before a judge and jury.
Peters’ trial is expected to begin at the next practicable sitting of the Essequibo Assizes.
At his first court appearance, he was not required to plead to the indictable charge, which alleges that on September 15, 2021, at Dartmouth, Essequibo Coast, in the Essequibo Magisterial District, he shot and killed Boston.
Around 04:00hrs on the day in question, Peters was reportedly on a police operation searching for ‘illegal substances’ at Boston’s Dartmouth, Essequibo Coast home.
Boston, who was said to be in bed at the time of the shooting, was shot once to the chest by a high calibre rifle. An autopsy report revealed that Boston died as a result of gunshot injury to the left side chest.
In retaliation to the shooting, Dartmouth residents had mounted protest action on the Essequibo Coast.
Four months after Boston’s killing, the DPP recommended that the police rank be charged with manslaughter.
Boston’s family members had expressed optimism that justice will prevail. However, Fiona Boston, his wife, had stated that it has been a challenge to cater to her own needs and that of her two children since the death of her husband.
Nevertheless, she is happy that the matter is gaining the attention of the justice system.
She said, “It took a long time, but I am glad that everything coming to light…when I heard the news, I was speechless. I didn’t know how to express myself. I was just there. It is something that I wanted to see for a long time, the case hasn’t been concluded yet, but there is still a greater chance for justice to prevail.”
To share any useful information, please can contact me via email: [email protected] or phone number: + 1(592) 694-1862
Oct 04, 2022– Organiser anticipates intense title race Kaieteur News – Heading into the fourth round of the GuyOil/Tradewind Tankers Under-18 Schools Football League, Golden Grove have assumed...
Kaieteur News – How times have changed. There used to be a time when the mere mention of the International Monetary... more
Freedom of speech is our core value at Kaieteur News. If the letter/e-mail you sent was not published, and you believe that its contents were not libellous, let us know, please contact us by phone or email.
Feel free to send us your comments and/or criticisms.
Contact: 624-6456; 225-8452; 225-8458; 225-8463; 225-8465; 225-8473 or 225-8491.
Or by Email: [email protected] / [email protected]