35 cases completed in criminal sessions for the year

–DPP Chambers

There were 35 cases completed in the criminal sessions up to last month, according to the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

In a statement, the DPP’s Chambers identified the cases completed for the Demerara, Berbice and Essequibo criminal assizes, while announcing the listings for upcoming criminal sessions.

A total of 11 matters were presented for the Demerara Criminal Assizes from January to May 2012.

Six cases were completed during the January 2012 Demerara Criminal Assizes, which started on January 10. Three matters each were heard by Justice Dawn Gregory and Justice Franklin Holder, who had been assigned 112 and 114, cases respectively during the session.

Of the three matters completed by Justice Gregory, one was for the offence of rape and armed robbery and the jury returned a verdict of not guilty on both counts. The other two matters were for the offence of murder. In one case the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty and the accused was sentenced to death by hanging. In the other matter, the accused pleased not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

The tree trials heard by Justice Holder were for the offence of murder. In one matter, there were two accused and the jury returned a formal verdict of not guilty for one accused. A retrial was ordered for the other accused. In the second matter, the accused pleaded not guilty to murder and guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter and was given a ten-year jail term. In the third matter, a no case submission was upheld and the judge directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.

The April 2012 Demerara Criminal Assizes, which closed on Monday, began with a total of 234 cases listed for the two judges, Justice Holder and Justice Roxanne George. Justice Holder completed three of the 117 cases assigned to him and Justice George, two of the 117 matters listed for her.

Of the three matters completed by Justice Holder, two were for the offence of murder. In one of the murder cases the accused pleaded not guilty to murder and guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years imprisonment. In the other case, the judge upheld a “no case submission” and thereafter directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.

In the third matter, the accused was indicted for two offences: rape and armed robbery. In this case, the jury returned a not guilty verdict.

In one of Justice George’s cases, two of three accused pleaded not guilty of murder and guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and were each given 30-year prison terms. The jury returned a formal verdict of not guilty for the other accused.

In the other case, the judge upheld a no case submission and thereafter directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. Justice George imposed this verdict “because of the poor investigation done by the police in relation to [the] identification of the accused,” the DPP’s Chambers said. It added that the in taking the statement of the main witness who saw the alleged accused, police did not take from her a detailed description of the person whom she saw. Also, no identification parade was held; in another instance of poor police investigations regarding identification.

The June, 2012 Demerara Criminal Assizes began on Monday with 234 cases listed  to be heard by Justices George and Holder.

Berbice and Essequibo

While the Demerara Criminal Assizes were in progress, criminal assizes were also being held in both Berbice and Essequibo. The Berbice Criminal Assizes continued in January 2012 with Justice Brassington Reynolds, who completed two matters during that month.

One of the cases was for the offences of murder and assault causing actual bodily harm, where the accused pleaded not guilty to murder and guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.

The accused was sentenced to nine years in jail. For the second offence, for assault causing actual bodily harm, the matter was Nolle Prosequi by the DPP because the victim, who was the wife of the accused, stated that she did not wish to proceed with the matter.

In the second case, which was for the offence of murder, the accused pleaded not guilty to murder and guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment.

The 29 outstanding cases from the October, 2011 Berbice Criminal Assizes were included on the list for the February, 2012 Criminal Assizes, which will continue until June 18. Forty-two cases were listed to be heard by Justice James Bovell-Drakes during this session. To date, five matters have been completed.  From January to May, seven cases were completed. In three of the cases, the accused pleaded not guilty to murder and guilty to manslaughter. In the fourth case, the accused pleaded guilty to offence of abduction.

The other three cases were trials, where in one matter there was a hung verdict for the offence and retrial was ordered. In the other two matters, a not guilty verdict was reached for the offence of carnal knowledge and a guilty verdict for murder. Forty-three cases are listed for hearing in the Berbice June Criminal Assizes, which will start on June 19.

Meanwhile, the October, 2011 Essequibo Criminal Assizes continued in January 2012, with matters being heard by Justice George. As of February 20, three cases were completed for the offences of buggery, manslaughter and murder. In the first case, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty and the accused was sentenced to 18 years imprisonment.

No case submissions were upheld in the manslaughter case and the judge directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. In the third matter, for murder, Justice George quashed the committal since it was bad, and ordered a new preliminary inquiry to be done.

The February, 2012 Essequibo Criminal Assizes opened on February 21 and concluded on May 14, with one matter completed. In the matter, for the offence of murder, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. Eighteen cases were listed to be heard.

The May, 2012, Essequibo Criminal Assizes opened on May 15, with 18 cases listed to be heard by Justice Winston Patterson. To date one matter was completed for the offence of murder. The accused pleased not guilty to murder and guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years jail. The May assizes are currently in progress.

From January to May, five cases were completed for the Essequibo Assizes.

In one case a guilty verdict was handed down and in two cases, there were two not guilty verdicts. In one case the indictment was quashed and in the fifth case the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter.

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