‘Shoelace’ gets life sentence for Annandale shopkeeper murder

Kamal Ramsahoye

Convicted last month for the murder of Annandale shopkeeper Kamal Ramsahoye, Philip Paul, called “Shoelace,” was yesterday afternoon handed a life sentence and must serve 30 years before becoming eligible for parole.

The sentence was handed down by Justice Sandil Kissoon, who presided over the trial at the High Court in Georgetown.

The judge commenced the sentence at a base of 36 years, from which six were deducted for time the convict spent on remand awaiting trial.

Of the remaining 30, Justice Kissoon ordered that all be spent before Paul is considered for parole.

Before imposing the sentence, the judge said that the court had to consider all the circumstances in the case, thereby balancing both the mitigating and aggravating factors presented.

Philip Paul

Against this background, the judge said that while Paul was merely 19 years old when he committed the crime and may have been impressionable as his attorney had pointed out, the court needed to also consider that Ramsahoye had lost his life during a robbery.

Offences of such a nature, the judge further highlighted, were indeed prevalent as Prosecutor Lisa Cave had noted in her address to the court.

Ramsahoye was killed during the course of a robbery in December of 2012.

In his address to the court on behalf of his client, defence attorney Brandon DeSantos said that apart from his current conviction, the now 26-year-old man had no antecedents and was of good character.

He asked the court to consider, too, that the evidence presented at trial in no way suggested that his client personally inflicted the injuries on the deceased, but rather that his culpability was as a result of the robbery carried out on Ramsahoye during the murder.

On this point counsel asked the court to be lenient towards his client since he had exerted no violence during the commission of the offence, even as he begged for a sentence that would afford the young man a “second chance.”

For her part, however, Cave asked Justice Kissoon to consider the seriousness and prevalence of the offence and the fact that the deceased had been stabbed 14 times as had been revealed by the medical report.

Against this background, she opined that a strong message needed to be sent to potential offenders.

Meanwhile, when asked if he wished to say anything before being sentenced, Paul declined, saying, “No, sir.”

He seemed visibly-distressed when the sentence was imposed as were his relatives, who were seated in the courtroom.

On November 16th, a 12-member jury found Paul guilty as charged of committing the capital offence on Ramsahoye during the course of a robbery.

His sentencing was, however,  deferred after his attorney requested a probation report.  Since both the defence and prosecution had been privy to the contents of the report ahead of it being tendered in the sentencing hearing yesterday, it was taken as having been read.

Ramsahoye, 38, was found dead in his fortress-like residence at Droom Street, North Annandale, East Coast Demerara.

A post-mortem examination conducted on the man’s body revealed that he had been stabbed 10 times and that he died from shock and haemorrhaging due to massive blood loss.

Family members had expressed bewilderment that Ramsahoye could have been murdered inside his home by intruders since his house was a virtual fortress.

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