Father acquitted, son leads defence in Success murder trial

Murder accused Latiff Mohammed walked out a free man from the High Court yesterday after Justice Navindra Singh upheld a no-case submission made by the defence, while his son and co-accused Arif Mohammed led his defence after the prosecution closed its case.

Justice Singh ruled on the submission made by attorney Peter Hugh, in the absence of the jurors in the High Court yesterday. He then instructed the 12-member jury to return a formal verdict of not    guilty against the senior Mohammed. Mohammed then walked out of the court as his son remained in the prisoners dock.

From left, Arif and Latiff Mohamed
From left, Arif and Latiff Mohamed

The Mohammeds are on trial for the murder of Jairam Balgobin, who they allegedly killed on March 4, 2008, at Success, East Coast Demerara.

After Latiff was freed, Arif was then asked to lead his defence. He stood from the dock and gave an unsworn statement to the court. He told the court that he was innocent of the charge against him and on the day of the incident he was at his sister-in-law’s where he was drinking cherry brandy.

He said then left her home and went to his father-in-law’s residence, where he continued to drink. “Me an me wife had a bitter argument and I slam a glass into a post and I bust an cut me hand,” he said, adding that afterward he went back to his sister-in-law’s house.

He also told the court that he did not speak to anyone other than his sister-in-law. He said his sister-in-law then gave him some food and he told her he was leaving for home. While walking home, Arif added, he saw his father, who asked him what happened to his hand and he told him how he hit a post with a glass. He and his father then walked to his father’s house and when they reached the step, they saw something looking like blood on it. As they continued to walk, he further said, they saw a man lying on the veranda with blood. “We collect two cutlass and we run out de yard.

I see me wife coming home and we tell she what we see and then we call the police,” he added, noting that he and his father stood and waited until the police arrived at the scene.

Prosecutor Konyo Thompson, who is presenting the state’s case along with Dhanika Singh, made her closing argument to the jury as did Hugh after Arif led his defence.

Thompson asked the jury to consider the evidence and not draw conclusions because the police investigation was poor.

She told them that there is not an eyewitness in every case but once there is sufficient evidence the state goes ahead and presents the case.

Hugh, in his closing remarks, noted that there was no eyewitness to say that the accused chopped Jairam Balgobin and that the police investigations failed.

The police investigators who had testified in the trial had admitted under cross-examination that the only evidence that linked the accused to the crime was what other people had said that the accused told them, and which was subsequently denied by the accused.

Justice Singh will sum up the case today, after which he will hand it over to the jury for deliberation.

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