Trinidad: Jilted husband, friend win murder appeal over killing of ex-wife and new lover

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Trinidad: Jilted husband, friend win murder appeal over killing of ex-wife and new lover
Mark Mohammed
Mark Mohammed

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – A jilt­ed hus­band and his friend, who al­leged­ly so­licit­ed and con­tract­ed a hit­man to mur­der his ex-wife and her new lover, a lit­tle over 13 years ago, have won their ap­peal against their con­vic­tions.

In an oral judg­ment de­liv­ered at the Hall of Jus­tice in Port-of-Spain, Ap­pel­late Judges Al­ice Yorke-Soo Hon, Mark Mo­hammed and Prakash Moo­sai up­held sev­en of the nine grounds raised by at­tor­ney Jagdeo Singh, on be­half of Bas­deo “Bas” Ram­lochan and Siewku­mar “Bob­by” Chanka-Per­sad.

Mo­hammed, who wrote the judg­ment, claimed that tri­al judge Mal­colm Holdip made mul­ti­ple er­rors in “all four cor­ners” of the case, which made their con­vic­tions un­safe.

While the judges quashed their manda­to­ry death sen­tences, they did not im­me­di­ate­ly or­der a re­tri­al or stay the in­dict­ment as they so­licit­ed fur­ther sub­mis­sions from Singh and the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions (DPP).

Pre­sent­ing pre­lim­i­nary sub­mis­sions, Singh ques­tioned whether the long pe­ri­od since the com­mis­sion of the of­fence would af­fect an even­tu­al re­tri­al.

Al­though DPP Roger Gas­pard said no, he re­quest­ed ad­di­tion­al time to in­form the court whether a re­tri­al is vi­able and how soon it could be­gin.

The ap­peal pan­el is ex­pect­ed to de­ter­mine the is­sue when the case comes up for hear­ing, next week.

Ram­lochan’s es­tranged wife Suni­ta “Michelle” Ram­lochan, 29, and her com­mon-law hus­band Rahim “Bam” Abra­ham were mur­dered at her fa­ther’s home at Kuldip Trace, St John’s Vil­lage, Av­o­cat, on Oc­to­ber 15, 2006.

The cou­ple and Suni­ta’s 11-year-old daugh­ter, who is Ram­lochan’s child, had just re­turned home from a vis­it to the Di­vali Na­gar site when they were at­tacked and shot sev­er­al times.

The State’s case was not that Ram­lochan and Chanka-Per­sad pulled the trig­ger, but that they sought out and hired a hit­man to do it.

In ad­di­tion to al­leged state­ments from Ram­lochan and Chanka-Per­sad, State pros­e­cu­tors al­so led ev­i­dence from a se­cu­ri­ty guard who claimed that Ram­lochan ap­proached him on six oc­ca­sions be­tween 2004 and 2006, to help him, some­one, to car­ry out the mur­ders.

An­oth­er State wit­ness claimed that Ram­lochan told him that he had mar­i­tal prob­lems and that he paid a hit­man $90,000 to kill her but he did not per­form the task.

He al­so claimed that Ram­lochan al­so claimed that he had been in­tro­duced to an­oth­er hit­man and showed him the $30,000 he was go­ing to use to pay him.

In its judge­ment in the case, the ap­peal pan­el ruled that when Holdip summed up the le­gal is­sues in the case to the ju­ry that even­tu­al­ly con­vict­ed the men, he failed to prop­er­ly ad­vise them on the duo’s pre­vi­ous good char­ac­ter and on how to prop­er­ly analyse the ev­i­dence of the con­tentious wit­ness­es.

The judges al­so ruled that Holdip, who was re­cent­ly el­e­vat­ed to the Court of Ap­peal, al­so failed to make dis­tinc­tions in the State’s case against each man.

The men are al­so be­ing rep­re­sent­ed by Rekha Ramjit and Renu­ka Ramb­ha­jan.

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