Alleged East Berbice robbery spree bandit remanded

A 23-year-old man said to be a well-known figure to law enforcement was slapped with 11 charges of armed robbery and attempted murder arising out of his alleged involvement in last week’s robbery spree in East Berbice and was remanded to prison when he appeared in court yesterday.

Kwame Bhagwandin called ‘Baggie,’ 23, of Lot 460 Ithaca Village, West Bank Berbice, appeared before Magistrate Charlyn Artiga at the Reliance Magistrate’s Court. The 10 charges of robbery under arms and the charge of attempted murder were indictable and Bhagwandin was not required to plead to the charges.

It is alleged that Bhagwandin while armed with a gun on March 28th at Cumberland village, robbed Candacy Bhemal and Mohanie Bhemal of a gold chain valued $180,000, a quantity of gold jewellery worth $1,638,000, a quantity of silver jewellery valued at $66,000, sixteen diamonds worth $350,000 and $180,000 in cash with a total value of $2,234,000. He is also accused of robbing Parbattie Bhemal of one Iphone valued at $26,000 and one gold chain worth $10, 000.

Kwame Bhagwandin
Kwame Bhagwandin

Meanwhile, the other nine charges which are related to the spate of robberies in Berbice on April 2nd, state that Bhagwandin in the company of others and armed with a gun and cutlasses, robbed East Canefield couple Emaan and Sheniza Singh of over five million dollars.

Bhagwandin is also accused of stealing one Citizens wristwatch, one Kenneth Cole wristwatch valued $500,000, one Samsung Note II phone, one Nokia Touch worth $220,000, one Guess wallet valued at $20,000, $40, 000 in cash, US$14, 000 and a driver’s licence worth $3 000 all with a total value of $3,583,000, the property of Emaan.

It is also alleged that he robbed Sheniza of one 22 Karat gold chain, a ring, bangles, and earrings worth $840,000, three pieces of 12 karat gold carvings valued at $140,000, one Guess wallet worth $20,000, one Iphone 6 valued at $215,000, one Samsung tablet worth $140,000 and three wristwatches worth $180,000, all with a total value of $1,615,000.

It is also alleged that Bhagwandin robbed Devindra Samaroo of one gold ring valued $50,000 and one Blackberry cellular phone valued at $35,000 all with a total value of $85,000. He also robbed Devin Singh Roopnarain of one silver band worth $8000.

Further charges read to the accused stated that while in the vicinity of Number 2 Village, he robbed Tessa Ramnauth of one gold band valued $80,000 and one gold finger ring valued at $40,000, all with a total value of $120,000. Bhagwandin is also accused of robbing Melissa Benn of No. 2 Village of one cellular phone worth $35,000 and $20,740 in cash property of Boodnarine Seenarine.

On the said day, at Glasgow Housing Scheme, it is alleged that Bhagwandin stole a motor vehicle valued $2,100,000, a cellular phone value $30,000 and $1,500 in cash for a total of $2,131,500, the property of Stanley McKenzie.

Bhagwandin was also charged with one account of attempted murder. It is alleged that on the 2nd of April 2015 at Glasgow Housing Scheme, while being in the company of others, he maliciously and unlawfully wounded Sundarjeet Seepersaud with intent to murder him.

Attorney-at-law Charrandass Persaud entered an appearance on behalf of Bhagwandin. He told the court that his client is the father of five children. In a bail application, he said that his client was the victim of severe violence at the hands of inmates while imprisoned at the New Amsterdam prison.

According to the attorney, his client does not have the ability to grip or hold any solid item. He stated that any medical practitioner can see and say that his client is not able to make a fist due to his injuries and hence he cannot hold or be in possession of a firearm or cutlass. Persaud also argued that while all of the offences Bhagwandin was charged with stated that he was in the company of others, only a man with a disability was charged.

Persaud further argued that his client is being victimized by the police since he was previously accused of a number of armed robberies. However, he said, all of the cases were dismissed recently. He argued too that in a recent identification parade, two persons were identified but none was his client.

Meanwhile, police prosecutor Sergeant Phillip Sherriff objected to bail on the grounds of the nature and prevalence of the offences. He stated too that a firearm was used in the robbery while the victim of the attempted murder charge remains hospitalized. He said that contrary to Persaud’s statement regarding the identification parade, two persons positively identified Bhagwandin.

At this point, the attorney interjected that the two positive identifications were an injustice to his client as other persons were also victims of the robberies.

After hearing the arguments, the magistrate refused bail on the grounds that there is no medical document to support the claims of Bhagwandin being crippled.

Four of the cases were transferred to the New Amsterdam Magistrate’s court for April 24th for report while the other seven cases are scheduled to come up on May 6th at the Reliance Magistrate’s Court.

Stabroek News understands that Bhagwandin was arrested on Sunday evening and placed in police custody at the Reliance Police Station. On Monday, he was placed on an identification parade and told that he was picked out by two persons.

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