With the freeing of the accused in the murder of construction worker Godfrey Jhaggroo, who was shot dead in Belle Vue, West Bank Demerara at the end of last year, Chunramanie Jhaggroo says that her son has suffered a further injustice.
Harry Rajpat, a member of a community policing group, was freed last Thursday at the Wales Magistrate’s Court due to insufficient evidence presented at the Preliminary Inquiry into the charge against him.
On December 19, 2013, Jhaggroo was shot to his head, minutes after having a heated argument with his neighbour.
He was headed to the Wales Police Station to file a report against the neighbour, who lashed him in his stomach with a piece of wood, when he was confronted and shot on the West Bank of Demerara Public Road.
Rajpat was charged with murder after turning himself in at the La Grange Police Station a few days after the shooting. According to reports, Rajpat had allegedly fled the scene, leaving his father, Jhaggroo’s neighbour and the owner of the gun that was used to kill Jhaggroo in police custody.
On Thursday, the court had upheld a no-case submission made by defence attorney Bernard De Santos and Rajpat was set free, after six months. Magistrate Clive Nurse presided over the Preliminary Inquiry and the police’s case was presented by prosecutor Lukhai.
“I left shock when the magistrate said there was no evidence for the matter to go to the High Court and then tell him he was free to go!” a distressed Chunramanie Jhaggroo told Stabroek News.
During the inquiry, many of the prosecution’s witnesses did not appear in court and the defence moved to close its case with a no-case submission. Magistrate Nurse dismissed the charge after stating that the prosecution failed to present a prima facie case.
“I couldn’t believe what was happening,” Chunramanie stated. She added that she visited the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions the next day for justice. However, she found no help. “They told me that they couldn’t do anything about it because there were no witnesses,” she explained.
“I don’t know what to do next. I don’t think there is anything to do. It’s been six months and I sit every day in that court waiting for justice and there was none,” she said.
Eyewitnesses had told Stabroek News that a group of community police were drinking in a liquor shop when the argument took place. The eyewitnesses said Rajpat was in the company of the policing group.
Chunramanie said the people who witnessed the killing were related to Rajpat. “…they did not talk. I don’t know where to go to get justice. I frighten them people— I even had to move out and live till here,” she said.
According to the still grieving mother, her son used to provide for her and his eight siblings. “Now I wash clothes for people in the area and clean catahar for them,” she said, tears settling in her eyes. “It’s hard on me and my children because he used to take care of us. I’m taking on this thing… I can’t rest. I lost my son and he was the only one who use to give me anything.”
In addition to his mother and eight siblings, Godfrey Jhaggroo also cared for a four year-old daughter.