Jan 01, 2023 News
Kaieteur News – For the year 2022, 188 cases were disposed of by the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP). Of the cases disposed of, 138 received attention in the High Court while 50 matters were nolle prosequi (a legal notice or entry of record that the prosecutor or plaintiff has decided to abandon the prosecution or lawsuit) by the DPP.
The DPP’s office in statement gave a breakdown of the cases. The statement explained that of the 138 cases, 93 were presented at the Demerara Assizes, 20 at the Berbice Assizes and 25 at the Essequibo Assizes.
Of the matters, there were 65 cases for the offence of Murder, 59 cases for Sexual Offences, 9 cases for the offence of attempt to commit murder, 4 cases for the offence of manslaughter and 1 case for the offence of murder in the furtherance of a robbery.
There were also 45 convictions, 53 guilty pleas, 26 formal verdicts of not guilty, 25 not guilty verdicts by jury, 4 Hung Juries, 2 Discontinued matters and 1 Quashed Indictment.
Additionally, in 2022, the DPP’s Office received 237 Committal Documents; 115 of these from the County of Demerara, 45 from the County of Berbice and 77 from the County of Essequibo.
Of these 237 depositions, 141 have been indicted, 23 charges were discontinued, 63 are receiving attention, and 10 were remitted to the Magistrates’ Courts.
The DPP’s Office proffered legal advice in 7,294 police files received from the Guyana Police Force (GPF).
Court of Appeal
Counsel for the DPP appeared in 28 Appeals in the Court of Appeal. In these matters, the State was represented by Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs. Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC, Assistants Director of Public Prosecutions (ADPP), Ms. Dionne McCammon, Mrs. Teshana Lake, Mrs. Mercedes Glasford, Mrs. Diana O’Brien, Ms. Natasha Backer and Senior State Counsel Lisa Cave.
Of these 28 appeals, one was for the offence of obtaining money by false pretense, eight for the offence of murder, seven for the offence of rape, seven for manslaughter and one each for felonious wounding, inflicting grievous bodily harm, robbery under arms, causing death by dangerous driving and buggery and indecent assault. Thirty appellants appeared in these appeals.
Six applications were for bail pending appeal, the COA granted one appellant bail but denied the other five.
Five matters to appeal against sentences and convictions were heard; the appellants in three of these were allowed their applications in part and had their conviction affirmed but sentences varied from 81 years to 50 years, from 70 years to 22 years and from 25 years to 20 years. The other appellant had his sentence and conviction set aside and a retrial ordered within the next practicable sitting of the criminal assizes. The COA dismissed one application to appeal.
Seventeen applications for Leave to File and Serve Notices of Appeal and for Extension of Time to File and serve Notices of Appeal were heard and granted.
In 2022, 15 matters for criminal offences were heard in the Demerara Full Court. Seven of these were for possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking, three for trafficking in narcotics, and one each for the offences of unlawful possession, murder, affiliation, assault causing actual bodily harm and operating a civil aircraft without an airworthiness certificate.
Of these 15 matters, the applications for five appellants were allowed; one of these will have a new hearing, two had their conviction and sentences set aside and another two were granted their applications to appeal and to file for extension of time to file notice of appeal. Another five appellants were granted their applications in part. The appeals against convictions were dismissed but their sentences were varied. The Full Court dismissed four applications while one appellant discontinued his application.
The Berbice Full Court heard one matter for the offence of possession of narcotics for the purpose of trafficking. The application to file a notice of appeal was granted.
Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ)
During 2022, counsel for the DPP appeared at the CCJ in four matters.
According to the statement from the DPP’s office, one of the cases was in relation to an application by Marcus Bisram who was charged with murder for the quashing of the Direction by the DPP to the Magistrate pursuant to section 72(2)(ii)(a) of the Criminal Law (Procedure) Act Chapter 10:01. The CCJ found that the Section was unconstitutional and granted the application.
The other three matters were appeals from the Court of Appeal decisions in relation to the offences of rape and murder.
One was for the offence of rape and assault causing actual bodily harm. The appeal against the conviction was dismissed and the appeal against the sentence was allowed. The sentence was reduced from 23 years to 12 years.
The other two cases were for the offence of murder. In one of them, the mother and her lover were charged for the murder of the deceased child.
The CCJ allowed the appeal against conviction and sentence for the mother’s lover. The appeal against the conviction for the mother was dismissed but the appeal against sentence was allowed. The sentence for the mother was reduced from 106 years to 30 years imprisonment with no eligibility for parole before 15 years.
The other matter is an appeal against the conviction and sentence. The appeal against the conviction was dismissed but the appeal against the sentence was allowed. The court is to give the decision in relation to the sentence.
Meanwhile, the statement noted that the Demerara January 2023 Criminal Assizes will open on Tuesday 10thJanuary.
There are 307 cases listed to be heard. Justices Jo-Ann Barlow, Priya Sewnarine-Beharry and Simone Morris-Ramlall have been roistered to sit during this Assizes.
Justice Navindra Singh will continue the Berbice October 2022 Assizes in January until February 2023 when the February Criminal Assizes will commence on Tuesday 7th February, 2023. And the Essequibo October, 2022 session will continue in January 2023 with Justice Sandil Kissoon. The Essequibo February Criminal Assizes will open on Tuesday 21st February, 2023.
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