`Mango Man’ trial aborted after accused demands new lawyer

The trial of the trio accused of the murder of Kumar Singh known as “Mango Man” in 2007 was aborted today in the High Court by Justice Navindra Singh after the number three accused demanded a new lawyer and his state-assigned counsel subsequently withdrew.

Murder accused Sherwin Nero known as Sherwin Moses called ‘Catty’, Andrew Philander called ‘Junior’ and ‘Gadget’ and Mark Williams known as Royden Durant called ‘Smallie’ were remanded to prison to await another trial.

Raymond Ali, who was representing the number three accused Williams, made an application to withdraw from the trial because Williams refused to have him represent him. The application was upheld by Justice Singh and Ali was withdrawn.

Police and prisoner officers’ presence was heavy outside the courtroom after Williams earlier refused to be taken to the courtroom. He sat in the cell, forcing police to lift him out of the prison. Williams then stood in the prisoner’s dock and asked for Ali to be removed as his lawyer. He said rudely: “I don’t need to be tried by a state lawyer! I don’t want to be before the same judge and prosecutor I was tried before again. I need my family to sort themselves out and get a lawyer for me.”

The jury was then asked to exit the courtroom because of the accused’s behaviour.

Justice Singh then asked Williams if he did not think that he would be given a fair trial if he presided as the judge. Last year, Williams was found not guilty in the Lusignan Massacre trial, where 11 people were killed in the village. He was tried before Justice Singh and senior state prosecutor Judith Gildharie-Mursalin. Williams said it did not matter, he wanted to be tried before a different judge.

Ali related to the court that Williams had told him to get away from him, refusing to give any orders. Justice Singh asked the other murder accused if they would prefer to have their trial separate from Williams but they refused.

With the jury back in the court room, Justice Singh then made the decision to abort the trial, stating that it would take a lot of time to assign another lawyer to Williams. He said it would push back the start of the trial and he would not have enough time to finish it.

According to reports, 51-year-old Singh called ‘Mango Man’ of Lot 51 Craig Milne, Cove and John, East Coast Demerara was at home on August 30, 2007, when four gunmen entered and started terrorizing his family. Three other gunmen stood guard outside the gate.

The gunmen also shot at his nine family members during the 15-minute ordeal before escaping on foot towards the back dam. Singh sustained several gunshot wounds and died while undergoing surgery at the Georgetown Public Hospital.

Number one accused, Nero was being represented by attorney Gary Ramlochan, Philander the number two accused was being represented by attorney Keavon Bess.

State Prosecutor Gildharie-Mursalin was presenting the state’s case.

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