US judge urged to deny Marcus Bisram’s bid for hearing on alleged recant by witnesses

Marcus Bisram

The United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York is challenging Guyanese murder accused Marcus Bisram’s attempt to have an “evidentiary hearing” on whether local witnesses in his murder case in Guyana have recanted the statements they provided to the police here.

Bisram, who filed habeas corpus proceedings after being ordered extradited to Guyana by United States Judge Peggy Kuo last year, is now asking Judge Kiyo A. Matsumoto to have the hearing since he believes that the witnesses were coerced to provide the statements implicating him to police here. He and others are accused of the murder of Number 70 Village carpenter Faiyaz Narinedatt.

Through his lawyer, Mario F. Gallucci, Bisram is asking the court to hold a hearing where the witnesses accusing him can provide testimony.

“In the interest of judicial economy, we respectfully request that opposing counsel arrange for the complaining witnesses to testify via television or telephone at the United States Embassy in Guyana. This will allow the court to confirm identity of the witnesses and obviate any need for a visa to be issued. The witnesses should be available, the lawyer said in his letter to the judge.

He added that the hearing is the only method to verify the fundamental question of whether the complaining witnesses’ testimony was the product of duress and coercion. “It should resolve the main issue underlying this matter,” he further stated.

However, in a response filed on Wednesday, which was seen by Stabroek News, United States Attorney Richard P. Donoghue urged the court to reject the request, saying it is an attempt of Bisram to delay his extradition to Guyana to face a murder charge that is pending here.

He argued that the fugitive had not used the proper standard in his request for the hearing and even so at this stage of the hearing it is untimely. He pointed out as well that the fugitive had the ability to present explanatory evidence in the underlying extradition proceedings, but he chose not to. Also, he contended that there is no authority or precedent permitting him to offer such evidence in the proceedings.

It was also argued by Donoghue that a habeas corpus writ is available in the circumstances only to inquire whether the magistrate (who presided in the extradition) had jurisdiction; whether the offence charged is within the applicable extradition treaty; and whether there was any evidence warranting the finding that there was reasonable ground to believe the accused guilty.

“The fugitive’s stalling has gone on long enough. The Court should reject his request for an evidentiary hearing and deny his petition,” the lawyer concluded.

The judge is expected to rule on the matter.

Bisram and five others have been charged with killing Narinedatt. Bisram was nabbed in the United States on July 16th, 2017. Bisram, local police have alleged, procured and commanded Orlando Dickie, Radesh Motie, Diodath Datt, Harri Paul Parsram, and Niran Yacoob to murder Narinedatt between October 31st and November 1st, 2016, at Number 70 Village, Berbice.

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