June Criminal Sessions open with grand parade
By George Barclay
June 2, 2004
THE June Criminal Sessions in Demerara opened yesterday with a grand ceremonial parade in the vicinity of the High Court. Justice Dawn Gregory-Barnes inspected a guard-of-honour and took the salute during a march-past by the Guyana Police Band and members of the Tactical Services Unit.
But following the grand opening, all was not smooth since one of the two judges assigned to preside at the sessions, Justice Jainarayan Singh, was still on leave. This resulted in the Court Registrar having to ask the judge’s panel of jurors to go back to their places of work and return at a later date.
On the other hand, the other judge, Justice Gregory-Barnes could go no farther than empanelling the jury in the case of Nansook called ‘Woods’, who is facing trial for the murder of Suresh Haricharran, allegedly committed on April 24, 2002.
Nansook, represented by Mr. Basil Williams, pleaded not guilty.
Ms Natasha Williams, associated with Ms Faith McGusty, is prosecuting.
However, after the empanelling of the jurors, Ms Gregory-Barnes had to call it a day, since the Prosecution, which was again hit by the ‘no witness bug’ had to seek an adjournment to today.
Ms Williams had told the judge, “We have no witness available.”
Granting the adjournment, the judge told the jury, “Please return to your places of work and return tomorrow morning at nine o’ clock.”
Before the opening of the Sessions yesterday, Superintendent of Prisons Clement Duncan presented the Jail Delivery Report to Justice Dawn Gregory-Barnes. This report, in accordance with the law, must be delivered at the close of the Sessions and before the opening of the new Sessions.
After Superintendent Duncan’s testimony, the jurors, who had served at the April Sessions, were discharged.
Duncan had testified that 66 prisoners are at the Georgetown Prison, awaiting trial as of May 31, 2004. According to him, 53 of them, including three females, are facing murder charges, while the other inmates are indicted for offences including manslaughter, treason, armed robbery and carnal knowledge.
In his Jail Delivery Report, Prisons Superintendent Duncan also disclosed that ten prisoners, including treason accused Mark Benschop, are requesting early trials.
The other prisoners desirous of early trials are, Michael Joe, Omesh Persaud, Martin Rodrigues, Arvin Shivnarine, Kenneth Klass, Ramdeo Sejoji, Harry Lall, Anthony Daniels and Phillip Codes.