Justice Navindra Singh yesterday overruled a no-case submission made by the defence for the four accused in the Windsor Forest murder trial. Bibi Farida Khan, called ‘Pum’, Shamiza Khan, called ‘Sham’, Hoosman Khan, called ‘Strong Man’, and Bisoondial Mahadeo, called ‘Weed Man’, all of Windsor Forest, are on trial before Justice Singh and a 12-member jury for the murder of overseas-based Guyanese Motilall Singh at Windsor Forest. The bloodied body of Singh was found close to a tiny bridge at Second Street, Windsor Forest in September, 2009. A fifth person, Ayube Hamid, called ‘Little,’ was also charged with the murder but he died while in prison. In unsworn statements, all four of the accused denied they were involved in Singh’s death when called upon to lead their own defence by Justice Navindra Singh, who is presiding over the matter in the High Court.
The number one accused, Mahadeo, told the court that he only knew the other accused by seeing them. “…I don’t know how I end up here,” he said. He added that on September 7, 2009 he was going to the shop when the police pulled up and asked him if he knew about a murder and he responded no. “This name that the police give me ‘Weed Man’ is not my name… I was home sleeping when this thing happen. I can’t believe ah deh in jail 4 years for a murder I know nothing about,” he said. In her statement, Shamiza Khan said that the $24000, US$100 and five US$20 bills she had in her possession were given to her by her stepfather to change.
Hoosman Khan, the number three accused alleged that he was beaten into signing a statement. “…He tek out two paper from he pocket and tell mi if mi ain’t sing these paper he gon beat me bad tonight. I do so and I sign the paper because mi nah wan them beat me again…none of them never tell me about my rights,” Khan told the court.
He said that he told one Sargeant Narine Lall that he and his stepfather were drinking when they were attacked by three masked men and the he ran away.
Khan also told the court that he was told to take off his clothes and kneel down while two black plastic bags were placed over his head. He said that he was then beaten with a bat on his buttocks.
Farida Khan, in her statement, said she was at home when she was told that her stepfather had died. “I throw open the door and call out to a neighbour and say that Motie dead. When I go on the road I see Motie lie down on the corner… Since I know Motilall Singh and he became my stepfather he was never a bad person. He never treat me bad. I had a very good relationship with Motie.” Khan also told the court, “I don’t know the man they call ‘Tall Man’. I never know him. They say that I throw money in the bus, I never do duh.” Defence Attorney Glen Hanoman called his only witness, Anand Persaud Sookoo, who told the court that during the month of September 2009 he was the corporal of police in charge of taking prisoners to court from the station and handing them over to the prison authority.
He recalled that on September 10, he took Mahadeo to the Georgetown Prisons and Mahadeo told him that he had a complaint. “He told me that Sargeant Lall assaulted him and cuffed him in his face…I looked at his face and the exposed parts of his hands to see if there was any black or blue marks and I did not see any. I was asked by the prison authority to write and submit a short statement as to what he told me.” Under re-examination by Senior State Counsel Judith Gildharie-Mursalin, Sookoo was asked if the accused ever complained that he was beaten by an officer, and he said no. Hanoman is appearing for Mahadeo, while Senior Counsel Bernard De Santos is appearing for the other three accused. Gildharie-Mursalin is presenting the state’s case. The trial continues tomorrow.