Five found guilty of Bel Air heist

–to be sentenced today

Jermaine Mitchell, Rayon Jones, Chandraradha Rampersaud, Aubrey Simon, and Hardat Kumar were yesterday found guilty of the July 12, 2011 multi-million-dollar Bel Air Gardens armed robbery committed on Annie Ramsood.

Rampersaud is Ramsood’s mother, while Kumar is her first cousin.

Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, who presided over the case, informed the defendants that their sentencing would be deferred to today to facilitate the presence of defence counsel George Thomas, who is expected to provide the court with mitigating factors for his client Jones.

The jointly-charged quintet were found guilty of two counts of armed robbery. The first charge states that on July 12 at Bel Air Gardens, being armed with a gun, they robbed Annie Ramsood of $1.4 million and US$29,000 ($5.8 million) all totalling $7.2 million

Additionally, they were all further found guilty of robbing Ramsood of a BlackBerry cell phone and a quantity of cash valued $427,000, while being armed with a gun.

Hardat Kumar
Hardat Kumar
Chandraradha Rampersaud
Chandraradha Rampersaud
 Jermaine Mitchell
Jermaine Mitchell

In addition, Mitchell was found guilty of having in his possession one 9 mm pistol and eight rounds of 9 mm ammunition without a firearm and or ammunition licence.

Meanwhile, Simon was found not guilty of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition but guilty of knowingly making a fraudulent imitation by attaching a false number plate to a vehicle.

The defendants, who, with the exception of Simon, were all present in court yesterday appeared visibly shocked on being told by Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry that the court had found them guilty and as such they would be remanded to prison.

They were all on bail up until the court’s decision was handed down and appeared unprepared for it and surprised to realise that they would not be leaving the court compound in the manner with which they had entered.

When given a chance to raise mitigating factors, Mitchell, 23, a father of six-month-old child who is employed at Banks DIH Limited, said he knew nothing about the robbery. “I getting charged wrongfully all the time and need to be set free,” he stressed.

When asked by the court, he indicated that prior to being granted bail he had been on remand for about six months and had no antecedents which was confirmed by Prosecutor Michael Grant.

Meanwhile, when asked to provide the court with mitigating factors before imposing sentence on him, 22-year-old Jones repeatedly said that he was innocent of the charges levelled against him. It was at this point that the Chief Magistrate informed him as well as the other defendants that the court had found them guilty and that they were being given an opportunity not to say whether they were guilty or not but rather to advance reasons to convince the court why it should be light in imposing sentencing.

Just before this explanation, the magistrate informed the defendants that the court has the jurisdiction to impose a maximum penalty of up to five years for the offences committed.

Jones’ repeated inability to furnish the court with mitigating factors caused the magistrate to ask him if he wanted an opportunity to have his attorney present to provide the mitigating factors. He responded in the affirmative and it was on this basis that the sentencing for all the defendants was deferred to today.

Jones, the father of a one-year-old child, said, “I am shocked at the decision. I wasn’t expecting this, because I am innocent of this charge.”

He had been on remand for about a month and currently has a charge of receiving stolen property pending.

His co-accused were all unrepresented by counsel.

Kumar, 33, who had been on remand for about six months and has two convictions stemming from the present robbery charge regarding perverting the course of justice, begged the court for lenience in imposing sentence citing that he has two minor children.

Meanwhile, 53-year-old Rampersaud, who is also the aunt of Kumar said that she had been in the lock-ups for about six months. She added that her last child, 17, is dependent on her.

Attorney-at-law Shellon Boyce who held for Special Prosecutor Glen Hanoman who was absent at yesterday’s hearing, advanced a number of aggravating factors. She cited the seriousness and prevalence of the offences and the fact that dangerous weapons were used in the commission of the crime.

She asked the court to take into account also the fact that not only was a female the victim of the crime but that minor children were in the house at the time and that they are still traumatised from the incident.

Ramsood is the wife of businessman Malcolm Panday and counsel added too that their business, family life and well-being were all affected by the actions of the defendants.

The lawyer stated too that Rampersaud’s and Kumar’s involvement had damaged family ties.   Rampersaud had been said to be the mastermind behind the robbery.

The prosecution’s facts presented at the first hearing on July 15, 2011, are that on the day in question, Rampersaud, who knew that the complainant and her family would have had the money at their home at that time; contacted Kumar and planned the robbery.

Police Sergeant Lionel Harvey who had presented the facts, had told the court that the two then contacted their other collaborators to execute the robbery. The court heard that Simon changed the original number plate of the vehicle used in the robbery to that of PKK 3700.

As he continued to relay the facts, Harvey said the accused went to Ramsood’s home where they proceeded to rob her of the items mentioned in the charge, holding her at gun-point.

According to Harvey, Ramsood’s husband was at home at the time of the incident but managed to escape and summon the police.

The sergeant said that as the accused left the premises, the police gave chase and after 25 minutes cornered the defendants at the Ocean Spray Hotel, Vlissengen Road.

The accused persons were subsequently arrested and charged. According to Harvey, they were positively identified by the complainant.

In addition to Mitchell, Jones, Rampersaud, Simon, and Kumar; two other co-accused; Rabindranaught Seemangal, and Shawn Hinds were also charged with the robbery.

However, in 2012, Hinds was cleared of the charges against him.

Meanwhile, on September 11, 2012 Seemangal was sentenced to eight years imprisonment after pleading guilty to the charges.

He had initially pleaded not guilty but later changed his plea stating that he committed the robbery because he had two babies and his wife to maintain and no job to do it.

The cases were heard at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

Latest in Local News

default placeholder

Resource ambassadors raise $14.5m for UG

Education resource ambassadors from various parts of the world who were recently here for a conference on improving UG have raised $14.5m for the university.

default placeholder

Northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue closed to traffic

The northern carriageway of Carifesta Avenue has been closed to traffic. This is to facilitate ongoing improvement and lighting works to the thoroughfare.

The newly appointed Deputy Commissioner General Hema Khan (left) with Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas. She was introduced during a press conference held yesterday.

GRA sacks heads of Customs, HR

Chairman of the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) Board Rawle Lucas yesterday announced a major shake-up in the management of the tax body, including the removal of the heads of its Customs and Human Resources divisions for unsatisfactory performance and the appointment of a Deputy Commissioner-General.

European Union Ambassador Jernej Videtič (left) hands over the Coastal Engineering Design Manual for Guyana Sea and River Defences to Minister of Public Infrastructure David Patterson. (Ministry of Public Infrastructure photo)

$2B in EU funding for sea defences

While urging the swift operationalisation of the Public Procurement Commission (PPC), European Union (EU) Representative to Guyana Ambassador Jernej Videtič yesterday handed over a $2 billion cheque to Minister of Finance Winston Jordan to aid in improving the country’s sea and river defences.

Members of the City Constabulary in their ceremonial dress march along Regent Street yesterday prior to the arrival of the President. (Photo by Keno George)

Put citizens first

With the controversial parking meter contract instigating fractures within the Mayor and City Council (M&CC), President David Granger yesterday reminded city councillors that they are accountable to the citizens who voted them into office.

Injuried: Dhaniram Tribeni

Canal Number One businessman beaten, shot in home invasion

A Canal Number One businessman is now injured after he was beaten and shot early yesterday morning when armed bandits invaded his home and escaped with a quantity cash and jewellery.

default placeholder

City councillor accused of invading Town Clerk’s privacy

A city councillor has been accused of invading the privacy of Town Clerk Royston King and his family after contacting one of King’s daughters about the controversial trip he made to Mexico with the Mayor and other council members.

default placeholder

Chainsaw operator, 16, charged over rape of 10-yr-old

A 16-year-old chainsaw operator was yesterday charged with the rape of a child under the age of 16 years old and later released into the custody of his parents.


About these comments

The comments section is intended to provide a forum for reasoned and reasonable debate on the newspaper's content and is an extension of the newspaper and what it has become well known for over its history: accuracy, balance and fairness. We reserve the right to edit or delete comments which contain attacks on other users, slander, coarse language and profanity, and gratuitous and incendiary references to race and ethnicity.

Stay updated! Follow Stabroek News on Facebook or Twitter.

Get the day's headlines from SN in your inbox every morning: