Accused maintains innocence in burnt taxi driver’s murder

Accused Balram Singh yesterday denied killing taxi driver Bhomeshwar Sukhdeo or having anything to do with his death.

“I sorry for the people who family died but to be honest with this court hay, me ain’t kill nobody, me ain’t know ’bout no murder,” Singh told Justice Navindra Singh and a 12-member jury at the High Court, in Georgetown.

The charge against him is that between January 19 and January 27, 2010, he murdered Sukhdeo.

Opting to lead his defence in unsworn testimony from the prisoner’s dock, the accused, who said that he can neither read nor write, told the court that he signed a document prepared by the police after they told him that he would go home once he signed it.

His story is that Detective Sergeant Nigel Stephens had a page quarter-filled with writing on which he was told to sign at the bottom. Singh then spoke of being asked to affix his signature below two additional blank pages, which he did.

Bomeshwar Sukhdeo
Bomeshwar Sukhdeo
Balram Singh
Balram Singh

Sergeant Stephens had previously testified about holding a confrontation with Singh, during which he blurted out, “Is me and Travis David kill the driver of the car and sell it to Bharrat.”

According to the caution statement, which was admitted into evidence and read to the court, Singh confessed that it was he and David who murdered Sukhdeo.

The court heard from the statement that David shot the deceased to the left-side of his neck with a .38 revolver and that they later dumped the body on the Mocha access road.

Singh’s story however, is that he never told the police any of the things narrated in the statement, nor was he ever a part of any confrontation.

David, who took the stand on Monday, testified that he never killed the deceased nor had anything to do with the crime.

David said that sometime in January of 2010, he was arrested in connection with the murder although he knew nothing about it. He said that after his arrest, investigators held a confrontation with him and Singh was a part of it. The witness said that during the confrontation, he heard Singh saying that it was he [David], who had shot and killed Sukhdeo.

David said Singh then proceeded to tell the police that he [David] then placed the body on a dam and they both later went back to retrieve it and placed it on another dam, after which they burnt it.

He added that he was arrested and placed in the lock-ups for a few days before being released.

David said he was questioned by the police about his whereabouts on January 19, 2010, and he told them that he was at home that entire day.

In his almost two-hour address to the court, the accused alleged that he had been beaten and gun-butted by the police. According to him, the lawmen placed 10 black plastic bags over his head, while other ranks hit him to his stomach.

He said that as they questioned him about the murder, he repeatedly responded that he knew nothing about it, after which they took him to the seawalls and threatened to place him in a bag and throw him overboard.

The police witnesses who have testified, had all vehemently denied ever using any form of force or threat towards Singh.

At the end of his client’s oration, defence attorney Jermaine Jervis indicated that Singh’s testimony was the entire case for the defence, which had no witnesses to call.

At the conclusion of Singh’s testimony, both the defence and prosecution presented closing addresses to the jury.

The judge will sum-up the case to the jury this morning at 9, after which it will be handed over to them for deliberation and the return of a verdict.

The state’s case is being presented by prosecutor Narissa Leander.

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