After being acquitted of all 12 counts of murder in relation to the February 17, 2008 massacre at Bartica, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni), former accused, Roger “Goat Man” Simon was finally afforded his bail privilege, a sum which amounted to $900,000. His Defence Attorney, Peter Hugh, on Friday afternoon appealed for bail on the grounds that his client spent a considerable amount of time in prison awaiting trial.
State Prosecutor Diana Kaulesar objected to bail on the grounds of the gravity of the offence, and the fact that some of the charges had multiple counts. Simon, along with five others, are facing several charges related to the 2008 Bartica attack. These include, one count of terrorism, one count of unlawful wounding and three counts break and enter and larceny.
The prosecution, when asked by presiding Judge Roxanne George, SC, was unable to indicate when the State would proceed on the terrorism indictment. As such, the judge granted bail in the sum of $500,000. Simon was additionally placed on $100,000 bail each for the three break and enter and larceny charges and the unlawful wounding charge.
Simon, when leaving the court was escorted by law enforcement ranks, shouted to his sister and other relatives to ensure that they take steps to ensure that his bail is paid.
Death penalty & life imprisonment
One day after being issued the death penalty for seven counts of murder, Dennis “Anaconda” Williams was on Friday sentenced, in absentia, to life imprisonment for each of the five counts for manslaughter. It was noted that it was Rondell “Fineman” Rawlins who was identified as the one who shot five persons dead at the Bartica Ferry Stelling. Justice George, however, stressed that the evidence in the trial showed that the convict, Mark Williams, was part of the joint enterprise that executed the Bartica attack, via “indiscriminate shooting”.
“It was a callous disregard for life,” the Judge told the court.
Chief Prison Officer Patrick Crawford testified that Dennis Williams refused to attend court despite being informed on “numerous occasions”.
Mark Williams’ manslaughter sentence deferred
Meanwhile, Mark Williams’ manslaughter sentence was deferred to February 10, following a discrepancy with the number of counts upon which he was convicted for the said offence. Williams was found guilty on multiple counts of murder late Thursday evening and was sentenced to death by hanging. When the death sentence was read, Justice George had noted that the two Williams will be hung by the neck until they are dead.
On the night of the fatal attack, 12 persons, including three Policemen, were slaughtered as gunmen carried out a deadly rampage, while members of the community were watching a game of 20/20 cricket on television.
Police Lance Corporal Zaheer Zakir and Constables Shane Fredericks and Ron Osborne were fatally shot, while Edwin Gilkes, Dexter Adrian, Irving Ferreira, Deonarine Singh, Ronald Gomes, Ashraf Khan, Abdool Yasseen, Errol Thomas and Baldeo Singh were the civilians killed.
Over 30 witnesses testified in the case that lasted over three months. The prosecution’s case was led by Diana Kaulesar and assisted by Stacy Goodings. Defence Counsel Roger Yearwood, who was absent from Friday’s sentencing, represented Mark Williams, called “Smallie”; while Shaphier Husain, under protest in latter moments, represented Dennis Williams. (Guyana Times)