Death of St Stanislaus student
Parents withdraw High Court matter
Way clear for cremation
Stabroek News
September 1, 2001

From all indications, the body of 14-year-old St Stanislaus College student, Taigwan Sundar, who died under controversial circumstances, will be cremated over the weekend.

Attorneys-at-law Sabrita Khan and Nigel Hughes, lawyers for the child's father Tarachand Sundar, yesterday successfully applied to Justice Desmond Burch-Smith, who is acting for the Chief Justice, to have the matter filed before Justice William Ramlall withdrawn. The withdrawal of the matter means that the orders made by the said judge on Thursday have no weight.

On Tuesday the boy's father had applied to the court seeking an order nisi commanding the police to show cause why the body should not be released and buried.

Justice Ramlall had made the order and had directed that the police appear in court on Thursday. However, when the matter was called the police were not present. Sundar's lawyers then sought to have the judge make the order absolute.

The judge, however, ordered that the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) be made party to the death probe of the child and that the DPP show cause why he should not be compelled to direct the coroner to hold an inquest into the boy's death.

Justice Ramlall also ordered that the father of the boy be restrained from authorising the disposal of the boy's body and that he be restrained from authorising his servant or agent from disposing of the body of his son by whatever means. Further, that the Commissioner of Police, his servants or agents, also be restrained from authorising the disposal of the body. It was also ordered that the commissioner be called upon to lay over copies of the report of the post-mortem by Dr Nancy Sitchao. The judge also asked for an affidavit from the Secretary of the Medical Council of Guyana to show that Dr Sitchao is a duly registered medical practitioner. DPP Dennis Hanomansingh appeared in court yesterday and the post-mortem report was also produced, along with proof that the doctor was a duly registered medical practitioner.

It was noted that the orders made by Justice Ramlall were not the orders asked for by the boy's father and since the matter was withdrawn the orders no longer stood.

Taigwan, who would have celebrated his fifteenth birthday yesterday and who resided with his parents and younger brother at Eccles, died on August 18. Eight days prior, he had been beaten by his father after he was found visiting a pornography website on the internet. The boy, who was clad only in his underwear, was chased away by his father who told him that "two men could not live in the same house". He was subsequently picked up by members of a vigilante group who handed him over to his grandmother, Rajdai Persaud. The grandmother took him to the St Joseph Mercy Hospital after welts were seen on his body and he had complained about being beaten. Later that same evening the boy's father visited the grandmother's home and demanded his son. Even though he was told that the child was due to return to the hospital the following day the man had told the media that he did not return his son for a further medical check as the child said he was alright. He had said that he and his wife had placed ice packs on the child's welts sustained as a result of the beating he inflicted on him.

After his death the boy's father was taken into custody but was later released after his wife, through Hughes, filed a writ of habeas corpus in the High Court.

The child's grandmother, convinced that her grandson died as a result of the beating he sustained at the hands of his father, also moved to the High Court through her lawyer Goumatie Singh and was granted a injunction by Justice Burch-Smith preventing the child's father from disposing of the body before another post-mortem was performed. However, the very next day the same judge discharged the injunction after he was shown the child's death certificate by Hughes. The death certificate stated that the boy died as a result of lung congestion and oedema (swelling) along with brain oedema.

But when the boy's father visited Sandy's Funeral Home on Sunday last he was told that the police had issued an order for the funeral home not to hand over the body. Assistant Superintendent David Ramnarine, who is the Public Relations Officer for the police, had told this newspaper that the police had been instructed to "hold" the body. It was because of this that the boy's father had moved to the court seeking an order nisi.

Stabroek News understands that last Wednesday, after Justice Ramlall had ordered that the police show cause why the body should not be disposed of, the police had given the go-ahead for the body to be removed from the funeral home. According to information, the police and the DPP have no further interest in the matter.