Curt Thomas, who is presently serving 70 years’ imprisonment for the April 30, 2016 murder of Parika fuel dealer Seeram Singh, has moved to the Court of Appeal, challenging his conviction and sentence.
Curt, also known as “Yankee,” was on November 5, 2020, found guilty by a jury for the April 30, 2016, murder of Singh during the course/furtherance of a robbery.
High Court Judge Navindra Singh, on November 11, 2020, sentenced Thomas to 70 years in jail and ordered that he be eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 40 years.
Based on reports, Singh, 52, of Lot 40 Parika Outfall, was stabbed to his abdomen and shot twice – to his head and hip. The bullet to his head was at close range and may have been the fatal shot.
At the time, media reports stated that Singh was talking to someone on his mobile phone when he was attacked and stabbed. In an attempt to raise alarm, the injured man ran towards a shop, but the gunman gave chase and caught up with him.
A scuffle ensued, and it was then the suspect discharged two rounds at Singh. Reports stated as the businessman fell, the gunman relieved him of two gold chains and escaped. Singh was rushed to the Leonora Cottage Hospital, West Coast Demerara (WCD), where he was pronounced dead on arrival.
Despite maintaining his innocence and even hurled a series of expletives throughout the trial, Thomas, through his Attorney-at-Law Lydon Amsterdam is asking that his conviction and sentence be set aside.
Amsterdam contends that Justice Singh “wrongly” admitted the results of an identification parade even though there was conflicting evidence which showed that persons on the parade were not of a similar age, race, general appearance, and class of life as his client.
Among other things, Amsterdam argued that the trial judge made several errors in law when summing up the evidence to the jury.
“The summation of the evidence by the trial judge was not balanced as he emphasised aspects of the evidence favourable to the prosecution’s case and omitted to mention inconsistencies and contradictions in the evidence which weakened the prosecution’s case,” Amsterdam contends.
The lawyer further argued that the trial judge utilised a formula in the passing sentence of 70 years that is without legal basis, and he failed to consider the established sentencing guidelines.
To this end, the convicted murderer contends that the 70 jail time is severe in all the case circumstances.