Chief Magistrate withdraws from Bacchus PI
Stabroek News
June 24, 2004

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Chief Magistrate Juliet Holder-Allen has withdrawn from presiding over the Shafeek Bacchus murder inquiry following claims by former death squad informant George Bacchus that she was on a hit list.

According to sources, the magistrate had written a letter to Chief Justice Carl Singh several days ago, stating that she no longer wanted to preside in the preliminary inquiry into the murder of cattle farmer Shafeek Bacchus, the brother of George Bacchus.

Shafeek Bacchus was gunned down in front of his home on January 16, this year. Since then, his brother George has gone public with allegations that he had spent his own money to provide information for a death squad, which collaborated with Home Affairs Minister, Ronald Gajraj. Gajraj has since denied the allegations. George Bacchus' outbursts also led to the arrests of Shawn Hinds, Ashton King and the late Mark Thomas.

Holder-Allen's withdrawal reportedly stemmed from a news item, aired on VCT Channel 28 last Thursday night which mentioned a hit list.

Sources say the report has affected the Chief Magistrate and as such, her letter explained that it would be best if the matter was transferred to another magistrate.

The PI into the murder of Shafeek Bacchus began on May 4 before Holder-Allen and seven witnesses have so far testified. The inquiry will likely have to start over before another magistrate.

King, Hinds and Thomas were charged on January 16, with the murder of Shafeek Bacchus on January 5 as he sat outside his Princes Street home.Thomas called 'Kerzorkee' of Auby's Wine Bar died at the Georgetown Hospital in February under mysterious circumstances.