Robert Daniels, the 23-year-old police constable who fatally shot a Brazilian miner at Puruni, in Region Seven, was yesterday faced with a murder charge.
Daniels, of Victoria Road, Plaisance, was not required to offer a plea to the indictable charge, which stated that on August 11th, 2018, at Puruni River, he murdered 37-year-old Estevao Costa Marques.
At Daniels’ arraignment in Georgetown, his attorney, Patrice Henry, requested that the particulars of the charge be reviewed by the Director of Public Prosecutions, while noting that the deceased miner discharged a loaded firearm at his client, causing him to return fire with his service rifle.
Henry’s statement was consistent with an initial police statement which stated that Daniels told a Subordinate Officer that was with him that a man had discharged a round at him and he returned fire.
An autopsy revealed that Marques sustained a gunshot to his head. It found an entry wound at the back of his head and an exit wound at the front.
Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan remanded Daniels to prison and adjourned the matter until August 30th, when a hearing is scheduled for the Bartica Magistrate’s Court.
In a statement on the fatal shooting, the Guyana Police Force said Daniels and the Subordinate Officer “abandoned” the Kurupung Police Station, to which they had been assigned, sometime last Friday morning. They left on an ATV “for patrol duties, armed with a .30 Carbine Rifle and subsequently joined a boat and proceeded to a Landing along the Puruni River.”
It noted that initial investigations revealed that the two policemen arrived at the Puruni Landing “around midday on Saturday. The Subordinate Officer claimed that he remained in the boat while the Constable, armed with the rifle, exited and proceeded to a shop and shortly after two loud explosions were heard which caused him (the Subordinate Officer) to proceed to make enquiries.”
Upon enquiring, the police said that the Subordinate Officer saw the body of the Brazilian miner, who was later identified as Marques, of Pinheiro, Maranhão, Brazil, lying on the ground.
The government on Thursday announced that the Ministry of Natural Resources would be carrying out a Commission of Inquiry into the circumstances that led to the fatal shooting of Marques, in wake of concerns express-ed by the Guyana Gold and Diamond Miners Association about the killing.