After being granted time to retain a lawyer for his trial over the unlawful killing of a man, Rawle Khan yesterday admitted his guilt and was sentenced to 12 years in jail when the case was called at the High Court in Georgetown.
Though pleading not guilty to the manslaughter charge last Friday and asking for time to retain a lawyer for his trial, which was set to commence yesterday morning, Khan, who appeared with his attorney, indicated to Justice Brassington Reynolds that he wished to plead guilty.
He admitted that on October 6th, 2013, at Mabaruma, Essequibo he unlawfully killed Chris Allicock.
He further indicated that no one had forced him to make the decision to plea and that he had had the benefit of legal guidance from his attorney, Clyde Forde.
Presenting the state’s case, Prosecutor Seeta Bishundial said that on the day in question, Khan and his employer had been in argument over unpaid wages.
During that time, the court heard that Allicock intervened and a scuffle ensued between him and Khan, who threw a brick at the man’s back as he walked away, causing him to sustain a ruptured spleen.
The injured man was rushed to the Mabaruma Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries.
The court heard that he died of the ruptured spleen as a result of blunt trauma to the back bone and a fracture to the 12th rib.
Khan did not challenge the facts related by the prosecutor.
Thereafter, the jury, which had been empanelled to hear his case, was directed by the judge and returned a formal verdict of guilty against Khan.
In a mitigating plea, Forde said that his client had expressed remorse for the killing, even as he begged the judge to be merciful in imposing sentence, while acknowledging that a life was lost.
The lawyer said that his client blamed his smoking addiction for the culmination of events of the day in question.
He asked the court on his client’s behalf, also, to consider his early guilty plea which would have saved the court considerable time in otherwise having to conduct a trial, and requested a deduction for time spent behind bars awaiting trial.
The lawyer also said that Khan, now 34, lost both his parents at a tender age and was not given the opportunity to be nurtured in the best of environments nor the most ideal of circumstances.
According to Forde, however, his client still looks forward for an opportunity to make a valuable contribution to society upon his release from prison.
In imposing the sentence, Justice Reynolds said that while he considered the mitigating factors presented by Forde, he also had to weigh those against the fact that a life had been lost.
Noting that at age 34 Khan is still young and can contribute to society if given the right guidance, Justice Reynolds admonished him to give up his smoking habits while expressing the hope that he does not smoke in prison.
The judge pointed out that Allicock’s life was innocently lost and that these were all factors he needed to consider in sentencing notwithstanding the plea in mitigation made by Forde on behalf of Khan.
Justice Reynolds pointed out, also, that the killing was not of the most gruesome or heinous nature nor was a weapon used.
Having taken all the factors of the case into consideration, Justice Reynolds started at a base of 15 years, from which he deducted three years for Khan’s guilty plea.
The judge said that since the plea was not entered at the start of the case last Friday, he would not benefit from the full five years he would have deducted for admission of guilt at first instance.