The April session of the Demerara Criminal assizes concluded today (May 31) at the High Court in Demerara and, according to a statement, from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), 29 matters were disposed.
The statement said that the criminal assizes commenced on April 2 with a total of 259 cases listed to be heard.
Of these 29 matters completed, the DPP presented 25 in the High Court in Demerara, while four of them were nolle prosequi by the DPP. Of the 25 cases presented, 15 were for murder, eight for sexual offences, and two for manslaughter. There were 10 guilty pleas, five convictions, three not guilty verdicts by jury and four formal verdicts of not guilty.
Prosecutors Tuanna Hardy, Abigail Gibbs, Teriq Mohammed, and Sarah Martin presented 15 matters before Justice Navindra Singh. Of these 15 matters, 13 were for murder, while two were for manslaughter.
Nine of the 13 murder accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter. Three of these accused were each sentenced to 12 years’ imprisonment, another two to 14 years’ imprisonment each. The others were respectively sentenced to 15 years, 10 years, nine years, and 16 years, and eight months in prison.
In another three separate murder cases, the defendants were all found guilty by the jury. In one of these three cases, there were two accused who were indicted together; the number one accused was sentenced to 65 years’ imprisonment, while his co-accused was found guilty on the lesser offence manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years’ imprisonment.
In the other two cases, one accused was sentenced to 75 years’ imprisonment, while the other accused is awaiting sentencing. In one other separate murder case, the trial judge upheld a no-case submission and directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. On the other hand, in one of the two trials for manslaughter, the jury returned a guilty verdict for the accused; he is also awaiting sentence.
In the other case, the trial judge upheld a no-case submission and directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.
Eight cases for sexual offences were presented by Prosecutors Lisa Cave, Seeta Bishundial, and Sarah Martin before Justice Brassington Reynolds in the Sexual Offences Courtroom. In one of these cases, the accused who was indicted on four counts was found guilty by the jury on all counts and sentenced to 29 years’ imprisonment.
In another three cases, the accused persons were acquitted by the jury. While in two other trials the trial judge directed the jury to return formal verdicts of not guilty. In one of these two matters, the trial judge upheld a no-case submission. In the other matter, the virtual complainant testified that she did not wish to proceed with the evidence. Two matters are still in progress before Justice Reynolds.
State Counsel Tiffini Lyken and Sarah Martin completed two cases for murder before Justice James Bovell-Drakes. In one of the cases, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty for the accused who was sentenced to 25 years’ imprisonment. The other accused pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and will be sentenced on Monday, June 3. The four matters nolle prosequi by the DPP were for sexual offences. In these matters, the virtual complainants submitted written statements indicating that they did not wish to proceed with their matters.
Meanwhile, the June session of the Demerara Criminal Assizes will commence next week Tuesday, June 4. A total of 301 cases are listed to be heard. Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall, Justice Brassington Reynolds, and Justice James Bovell-Drakes have been rostered to sit.