Fire murders accused committed to stand trial

The man charged with murdering his grandmother-in-law and two of his sisters-in-law was committed to stand trial for the murders when the case was called at the Vreed-en-Hoop Magistrate’s Court yesterday.

Arshad Ali is charged with the murders of his grandmother-in-law, Victoria Benjamin and his sisters-in-law, Devika Bowling and Anida Bowling. It is alleged that on May 9, 2006 Ali killed the trio by burning the house that they were occupying.

The preliminary inquiry was conducted at the Leonora Magistrate’s Court by Magistrate Fazil Azeez. Yesterday, when the matter was called, Ali was asked if he had anything to say and he stated that he would reserve his defence for the High Court but also said that he was innocent of the charges. Magistrate Azeez said that a prima facie case had been made out against him and committed him to stand trial for the capital offences in the High Court.

In the wee hours of the morning on May 9, 2006, Glarey Bowling, seven of her children including 17-month-old Anida, three-year-old Devika and 66-year-old Benjamin, who is Glarey’s mother, were asleep in their almost-completed house at One Mile, Parika Backdam, when Ali allegedly threw an incendiary device into the house.

Bowling and several of her children managed to escape but Anida, Devika and Benjamin were burnt to death. Several days later, police arrested Alli in a village three miles away and eventually charged him with three counts of murder.

Glarey Bowling had been severely injured, sustaining burns to 90% of her body during the incident. Since then she had been confined to her bed but last Monday, at age 43, she finally succumbed at the Georgetown Public Hospital.

Alli was represented by attorneys-at-law Hughley Griffith and Subash Ganesh.

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