Aspiring lawyer, 19, found guilty of killing East Canje labourer

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Nineteen-year-old Davenand Dhandhari has been found guilty of killing East Canje labourer Omesh Seelall, 21, called “Rovin” and “Short Neck,” of Betsy Ground, East Canje in April 2018.
After deliberating for more than three hours on Monday, The mixed jury in the Berbice High Court returned the unanimous verdict of guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter.

Prior to the incident that caused his conviction, Dhandhari, of Lot 27 Betsy Ground, East Canje, Berbice, had been an aspiring lawyer.

He was convicted for unlawfully killing Omesh Seelall, was had also been known as the “East Canje bad man”, by hitting him to the head with a piece of wood he had removed from an animal drawn cart.

The youths had been among others when an argument erupted between the two during a wedding house brawl. The accused reportedly grabbed the piece of wood hit Seelall on the head, rendering him unconscious.

During the trial, Dhandhari told the court that Seelall was attacking him with a knife and he grabbed the wood to defend himself.

Seelall, a labourer, sustained injuries to his head, resulting in his death six days after he was hit.

Dhandhari told the court that at the time of the incident he was scared, knowing Seelall’s reputation.

He related that in 2014 Seelall had stabbed a man and was before the court for attempted murder. A few days before the incident, at another wedding, he had also been involved in a fight; and at the wedding house earlier that night, he had again been involved in a fight.

During the trial witnesses gave conflicting evidence as to what had transpired and what was left at the scene.

The dead man’s brother said he had seen a piece of wood and a knife, while grandmother of the accused said she had seen only a piece of wood. The prosecution’s chief witness said she had witnessed Dhandhari running towards Seelall and lashing him. She also testified that at the time Seelall had a knife.

After the jury had given its verdict, Dhandhari was heard wailing and saying the justice system is unfair. At the time of the incident he was a secondary school student and has to sit his CAPE from behind the prison walls.

Meanwhile, Defence attorney Mursaline Bacchus asked for a probation report on the accused to be presented.

Justice Joann Barlow has set September 12 for sentencing, when the probation report should be presented. (Andrew Carmichael)

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