The trial of the two men accused of the fatal Mashramani night mob attack on Kumar Mohabir commenced yesterday before Justice Navindra Singh and a 12-member jury at the High Court.
Devon Thomas and Randy Isaac both denied the charge that they murdered Mohabir at Vlissengen Road, Georgetown, on February 24, 2013. Mohabir, a 25-year-old Enterprise, East Coast Demerara businessman, died of multiple stab wounds following the attack.
In her opening address after the empanelment of the jury, Prosecutor Stacy Goodings, who represents the state in association with attorney Diana Kaulesar, said that on Mashramani Day, Mohabir, who was with his family, was attacked by the two accused, along with other persons.
She added that Mohabir was taken to the hospital where he later died.
Thomas is represented by attorney Latchmie Rahamat, while Isaac is represented by attorney Peter Hugh.
Three of the seven witnesses who will be testifying on behalf of the state completed their testimonies at yesterday’s hearing.
The uncle of the deceased, Bheenchand Mohabir, was first to take the stand. He recounted going to the Georgetown Public Hospital Mortuary on February 25, 2013; where he identified his nephew’s remains to Dr Nehaul Singh, who later conducted a post-mortem examination (PME).
Asked by Rahamat under cross-examination whether he was in the room when the PME was conducted, Mohabir answered in the negative.
Counsel then put it to him that he had told the magistrate during the preliminary inquiry, that the PME was conducted on February 20 and not 25.
The elderly man, however, vehemently denied ever saying that, noting that he could not have, since his nephew was still alive at that time. He opined that if that was indeed recorded in the deposition, it must have been a mistake on the part of the magistrate, as he never give any such testimony.
After viewing the document, both Prosecutor Goodings and Justice Singh said that the date recorded appeared to be the 25th and not the 20th as counsel had contended.
Mohabir, after being shown the document, said that while his sight is not of the best quality, it surely did not look like February 20 had been recorded. He said the second digit behind the 2 appeared to be either a 3, 5, or 8.
He, however, firmly maintained that he told the magistrate February 25, before adding that he was not “stupid” to tell her of a date for a post-mortem examination that preceded the death of his nephew.
Justice Singh said since there is uncertainty regarding the date, the document would be tendered for viewing by the jurors for their consideration. Hugh declined cross-examination of this witness.
Police Constable Sean Roberts, who was attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) of the Alberttown Police Station at the time of the murder, was next to testify.
He recalled receiving a report of the alleged murder on February 24, and subsequently visiting the crime scene on Vlissengen Road, in the vicinity of Sandy Babb and Barr streets, in Kitty, where he observed what appeared to be blood stains on the western side of the road.
He testified about interviewing several persons there and receiving certain information, as a result of which he later went to the Woodlands Hospital where he questioned Monica and Navindra Mohabir. He said that while there, he observed Kumar’s motionless body lying on a bed and that he appeared to have been dead.
The constable said that he did a physical examination of the body and observed what appeared to be wounds on its left upper leg, right-side chest, right arm and the back of the head. He added that the body was examined by a doctor on duty, who later pronounced death.
Roberts said that he thereafter escorted the body to the Lyken Funeral Parlour for storage and further escorted it from the funeral parlour on February 25, to the mortuary of the Georgetown Hospital, where he witnessed a PME performed by Dr Singh.
According to the witnesses, the cause of death was given as multiple stab wounds.
Roberts recalled uplifting the post mortem certificate from Dr Singh. With no objections from the defence, the certificate was tendered into evidence.
Roberts agreed with a suggestion while under cross-examination by Rahamat that when he first learnt of the incident, he was told that it was a stabbing but he later learnt that it was a murder after Kumar died.
He answered in the negative when asked whether he had taken samples of the presumed blood he said he saw at the scene for testing. The witness, however, said he told his subordinate about the presence of what appeared to be blood for further investigations to be made in that regard.
Asked whether there were cameras on a post in the vicinity where the alleged incident occurred, Roberts answered in the affirmative but said that he made no attempts to review the footage. He said that he did not have that capacity to so do but added that he had duly informed his subordinate officer.
Under cross-examination by Hugh, Roberts said that he first learnt of the incident after 6 am on February 24.
He agreed with counsel that the persons whom he had interviewed at the scene were not “very helpful.” He also agreed with a suggestion from the lawyer that the only description he had gotten of persons involved in the alleged incident were of them being light and dark skinned and that he had heard this being told by Navindra to Assistant Superintendent of Police Marlon Chapman.
Roberts answered in the affirmative when asked by Hugh whether he was dissatisfied with the descriptions he had gotten, as they were not more substantial and specific regarding any distinguishing form to establish identity. Roberts again agreed with Hugh that many people all across Guyana are either light or dark skinned.
The jury enquired whether the cameras were working at the time of the alleged incident, but Roberts responded, “I would not be able to say.”
Meanwhile, asked by the judge in which direction the camera was focused, Roberts said, “I can’t say exactly where the camera was focused.”
Detective Assistant Superintendent Lueovick Scotland, who is stationed at the Cove and John Police Station, was the final witness at yesterday’s hearing. He recalled contacting and questioning Thomas in relation to the alleged murder.
He said he had asked the young man whether he was among a group of persons who stabbed and inflicted injuries on Navindra and Kumar on Mashramani Day, which later resulted in the death of the latter.
Scotland said the young man denied having any knowledge of the incident.
The trial continues this morning.