Twenty-eight matters were disposed of in the Demerara criminal sessions up to last month, and ten cases were nolle prosequi [not prosecuted] 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.
Twenty-eight matters were disposed of during the Demerara January 2013 criminal assizes in the High Court. 20 cases received attention in the High Court and eight cases were nolle prosequi by the DPP for the offences of murder and rape of a child under 16 years.
There were 22 cases for the offence of murder, one for the offence of rape, and five for the offence of rape of a child under 16 years.
This assizes was presided over by three judges: Justice Roxane George, Justice Navindra Singh and Justice Dawn Gregory.
The statement said that Justice Singh disposed of nine cases for the offence of murder in which the following verdicts were reached. There were three matters in which there was more than one accused person. In two cases, no case submissions upheld. In five cases guilty verdicts were reached, two cases had not guilty verdicts, two cases had hung jury and one accused person was committed to the National Psychiatric Hospital for treatment.
Justice George completed seven cases for the offence of murder in which the following decisions were made: two no case submissions were upheld, two guilty verdicts were reached and three not guilty verdicts were reached.
Justice Gregory completed four murder trials and one trial was aborted after the accused person was found to be unfit by the jury to make a plea. In two of the cases not guilty verdicts were reached and in the other two no case submissions were upheld.
In addition, the statement said that during the Demerara criminal assizes, the DPP nolle prosequi eight matters; three of these matters were for the offence of murder and six matters for the offence of rape.
Of the six rape matters that were nolle prosequi, four of them were for charges under the new Sexual Act and due to the Amendment the DPP discontinued the charges so that these matters can have the benefit of the Amendment. For the other two matters the virtual complainants indicated that they no longer wished to proceed with their matters.
In relation to the three murders, in one of them, the accused died. In the other two matters there was insufficient evidence at the time of the trial.
One matter which was heard before Justice Singh and involved six accused persons charged with the offence of murder, the charge against the Number 3 accused was nolle prosequi by the DPP because of insufficient evidence.
Gaol Delivery was done on March 28, 2013 by Justice Gregory bringing to an end the Demerara January 2013 criminal assizes. A total of 241 cases had been listed to be heard during this assizes which commenced on January 8, 2013.
The statement said that meanwhile during this period Justice Franklin Holder sat at the Essequibo criminal assizes. With effect from January he continued the October 2012 criminal assizes and then opened the Essequibo February assizes on February 19, 2013. Twenty-two cases are listed to be heard for February assizes. During this period Justice Holder completed three matters, two of which are from the February assizes list.
The three cases completed are for the offence of murder. In the first murder case, the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and was sentenced to fourteen years imprisonment. And in the other two cases the trial judge upheld a no case submission and directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.
The statement also said that at the same time Justice Brassington Reynolds sat in the Berbice assizes with effect from January he continued the October 2012 criminal assizes and then opened the Berbice February assizes on February 5, 2013. Six matters received attention during this period. Four matters have been disposed of to date by Justice Reynolds from a list of forty-five cases. This session will continue until June 17, 2013. Of these four matters, three of them were for the offence of murder and one for an attempt to commit murder.
In two of the murder cases, the trial judge imposed the death penalty after the jury returned with a unanimous verdict of guilty against the accused persons. And in the third murder case the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years imprisonment after Justice Reynolds had considered the findings of a probation report which was requested by the defence.
In the matter for the offence of attempting to commit murder, Justice Reynolds directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty after the victim indicated to the court that he did not wished to proceed with the matter.
In the Berbice assizes, two matters were nolle prosequi by the DPP for the offence of carnal knowledge. These matters were nolle prosequi because the virtual complainants indicated that they no longer wished to proceed with these matters.
The release said that the April 2013 criminal assizes for Demerara opened on April 2, 2013. There are 219 cases listed to be heard during the Session before Justice James Bovell-Drakes, Justice Navindra Singh and Justice Brassington Reynolds.
The Essequibo assizes will commence on May 21, 2013 before Justice Franklin Holder while the next Berbice assizes will start on June 18, 2013 before Justice Dawn Gregory.