Verdict expected next week in coastguards’ murder trial

Justice Franklyn Holder will sum up the evidence in the trial of the ex-coastguards accused of murdering Bartica gold dealer Dweive Kant Ramdass on Tuesday, after which the case will be handed over to the jury for deliberation and a verdict.

The three former coastguardsmen Sherwyn Hart, Deon Greenidge and Devon Gordon are on trial for the murder, which they are accused of committing between August 20 and August 22, 2009, at Caiman Hole, East Bank Essequibo. Hart, Greenidge and Gordon, who were serving coastguards at the time, allegedly robbed Ramdass of $17 million before killing him. Ramdass’ body was recovered floating in the river days later.

Defence counsel Latchmie Rahamat presented one witness to the court yesterday, after which closing arguments were made by her and state prosecutor Judith Gildharie-Mursalin. The case is being tried in the High Court sitting at Suddie before Justice Holder and the 12-member jury.

On Tuesday, each of the accused led their defence through an unsworn statement. All of the men denied ever picking up Ramdass in their boat and taking him to Caiman Hole. Instead, they said that they picked up a mixed male from Parika and dropped him to Hog Island, where they left him.

However, in the statements they had given to the police, and which have been admitted at the trial as evidence against them, they had said that they took Ramdass into their boat and sailed to Caiman Hole.

At Caiman Hole, Hart had told police that he, Greenidge and Gordon made Ramdass take off his clothes before throwing him into the Essequibo River. Greenidge had said in his statement that Hart was the one who pushed Ramdass overboard, while Gordon said that he did not see who pushed Ramdass overboard.

But Gildharie-Mursalin had presented witnesses to the court who testified that they saw when Ramdass left with the accused and never returned. Police witnesses had also testified in the trial that they recovered large sums of money from the relatives of the accused.

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