Farmer gets suspended six-month sentence for electrocuting boys
-had paid $2M compensation
Stabroek News
November 21, 2003

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The man who admitted electrocuting two brothers - Don Carlos and Romeo Joaquin - both under the age of 11 years, has been sentenced to a suspended jail term of six months.

Mohanlall called `Lall' pleaded guilty to the December 2000 killings and paid the dead boys' family $2 million in compensation when he appeared before Justice Winston Moore two weeks ago.

In handing down judgment yesterday, the court considered Mohanlall's existing heart condition. Defence Attorney Jailall Kissoon had earlier submitted additional medical reports, the fact that he had sought to compensate the victims' family for their loss and his verbal expression of regret regarding the tragedy.

However, prior to the court's decision, Kissoon called his client to the witness stand. The lawyer's move came after Probation Officer, Melissa Gravesande testified, under cross-examination and re-examination by the defence and the court respectively, that Mohanlall had rewired his fence after the Joaquin brothers had died.

This, she said, had been revealed by her investigations and had been told to her by the dead boys' guardian, a pastor, and other sources including Mohanlall's immediate neighbour.But Moh-anlall denied rewiring the fence and said a dog belonging to his neighbour had vomited and died after consuming rat poison which he had set near his chicken coop.

At this stage, the pastor got up and said he wished to speak but was promptly informed by the judge that the court was not a "circus" and such behaviour was considered unacceptable. Further, he (the pastor) could not be allowed to speak impulsively.

Mohanlall's sentence allows him to avoid incarceration once he does not commit any similar or other offence during a two-year time-frame.

It had been the prosecution's case, presented by State Counsel, Simone Morris, that the lifeless bodies of the Joaquin brothers had been discovered on December 13, 2000, near the fence of Mohanlall's Triumph, East Coast Demerara fruit farm where they may have gone to pick mangoes.

Mohanlall had set up an illegal electrical connection running from the fence to his house, because according to his claims in a statement to police, persons had stolen from his farm on several occasions.

A post-mortem report said the boys died from cardiac arrest and electrocution. (Edlyn Benfield)