Justice James Bovell-Drakes yesterday quashed the committal of murder accused Leon Paul and granted him $250,000 bail, after upholding submissions that his committal was bad in law.
Paul, 22, had been charged with the murder of Dexroy Dodson on September 2, 2008 at Paradise, East Coast Demerara and was committed to stand trial in the High Court. The matter was called for the first time yesterday in the High Court.
Attorneys Sandil Kissoon and Satyesh Kissoon, who represented Paul, argued that the committal was flawed and bad in law and requested that the indictment be thrown out.
His lawyers also said that the primary reason was that the magistrate had failed to hold a voir dire (trial within a trial) to determine the admissibility of an alleged caution statement said to have been given by the accused while he was in custody.
After quashing the indictment, Paul was released on $250,000 bail on the condition that he report to the Cove and John Station every Monday from the week subsequent to the day he posts bail and that he should also inform the Divisional Detective officer if he moves from the district.
Paul was first committed in December 2010 by Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus at the Cove and John Magistrate’s Court. In 2012, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had ordered that the case be reopened for the purpose of tendering the alleged caution statement purportedly taken from the accused. This was done, and Paul was committed to stand trial again in February 2013.
Paul, who was 16 at the time he allegedly committed the murder, was reportedly angry that his 15-year-old sister was in a relationship with Dodson. He had threatened his sister about seeing Dodson. On the fateful day, his sister reportedly met Dodson as usual near a roadside shop and they were later seen sitting on a bench a short distance away chatting.
Sometime before 11 pm, Paul, alleged to have been hiding in the vicinity, pounced from behind a lamppost opposite the bench. After slapping his sister, he allegedly stabbed Dodson in the chest.
The wounded Dodson made a desperate attempt to reach his home but collapsed near a trench, a few metres away.
He was found face down, the front of the white vest he was wearing drenched in blood.