Fugitive murder accused Troy Thomas was yesterday committed to custody to await extradition to the United States.
Thomas learnt his fate at the conclusion of extradition proceedings at the Providence Magistrate’s Court.
Thomas, of South Ozone Park, Queens, New York, is wanted in the United States for the murder of Keith Frank, which he allegedly committed on December 11th, 2011.
Principal Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus, who presided over the case, yesterday overruled the no-case submission that had been made on behalf of Thomas by his attorney, Nigel Hughes.
In the absence of Hughes, attorney Kescia Williams appeared for Thomas yesterday afternoon when the verdict was handed down.
Asked if she wished to submit any statements to the court, Williams indicated that she was advised that Hughes would be relying on previous submissions made and would not be laying over any documents to the court.
Subsequently, Magis-trate Isaacs-Marcus stated that in arriving at her decision, she took into consideration the evidence presented by state prosecutor Stacey Goodings, and the defence’s contention that the person wanted for murder in the United States was not the same person who was before the court.
The magistrate, however, noted that when referred to as Troy Thomas, the defendant never objected to the name. Additionally, during a voir dire held to determine the identity of the accused, a number of witnesses were called and the defendant gave unsworn evidence. At the conclusion of the voir dire, it was determined that the person before the court was indeed Troy Thomas.
Magistrate Isaacs-Marcus further noted that the prosecution had to prove if there was a valid authority to proceed, if the accused was properly identified, if there was sufficient evidence, if the offence was an extraditable one, if there was an existing extradition treaty between Guyana and the country requesting extradition and if there was anything barring the extradition.
As it related to if the prosecution proved the identity of the accused, the Magistrate relied on the ruling made in the voir dire, while noting that the signature of the defendant found in the Criminal Investigation Department record books and the court documents confirmed the accused to be Troy Thomas.
While addressing whether the offence was an extraditable one, the magistrate stated that if the murder has been committed in Guyana and the same witnesses were called, then the defendant would have been committed to stand trial based on the evidence presented.
The court also heard that there is a valid extradition treaty that exists between the UK and the US and it extends to Guyana.
Magistrate Isaacs-Marcus, who noted that it is the Minister of Public Security Khemraj Ramjattan who has the final say on extradition, then proceeded to commit Thomas to custody at the Lusignan Prison by warrant to await extradition.
Earlier this year, Ramjattan had authorised proceedings for Thomas’ extradition, following which Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Greenidge had issued a certificate that confirmed that there is an extradition agreement between the United States and the United Kingdom, which is enforced in Guyana.
Section 8(3) of the Fugitive Offenders Act authorises the extradition of a person to a Commonwealth country or treaty territory regardless of what is stated in any other law or treaty, once the minister considered that it was in the interest of justice.
The section states, “Notwithstanding anything contained in subsection (3)(b) or any other law or treaty, a fugitive offender or any class or category of fugitive offenders may be committed to, or kept in, custody for the purpose of extradition or may be extradited to a Commonwealth country or a treaty territory in connection with any extraditable offence, if the Minster considers it necessary in the interest of justice.”