Convicted killer appealing life sentence

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Munilall Sarjoo

Livestock farmer Munilall Sarjoo, 51, also called “Long Hair”, of Number 67 Village, Corentyne, Berbice, who was found guilty of murder, is appealing his sentence at the Guyana Court of Appeal.

His contention, detailed in a Notice of Appeal, is that the trial judge erred in rejecting no-case submissions made by his attorney-at-law.

A jury last month found Sarjoo guilty by of the August 2016 murder of Levan Chandrapaul, whose body was found in a shallow grave at No 68 Village, Corentyne, Berbice. Following that verdict, Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall sentenced the convicted killer to life imprisonment with the possibility of being eligible for parole after serving a minimum of 25 years behind bars.

Sarjoo had maintained his innocence following the sentencing. He is now asking the Court of Appeal to set aside his conviction and sentence.

In court documents seen by this publication, his lawyer is contending that the trial judge erred in law when she rejected the no-case submissions made at the close of the prosecution’s case, and also at the end of the case for the defence.

The lawyer is further contending that “the learned trial judge erred in law when she failed to put to the jury and instruct the jury on the Turnbull guidelines on identification.”

According to defence counsel, Justice Morris-Ramlall again erred in law in saying to the jury that his client said nothing when he was cautioned by the Police, leaving the jury with the impression that his client was bound to deny the allegation put to him, and that his failure to do so could be used against him.

Additionally, Sarjoo is arguing that the trial judge failed to adequately put his defence to the jury for consideration. During the trial, the Court heard that the late Levan Chandrapaul had last been seen in the company of Sarjoo.

Chandrapaul was murdered between August 22 and 26, 2016, and his body was found in a dried-up pond covered with sand. His cause of death was given as internal bleeding of the skull.

A Government pathologist had explained to the Court that there were two fractures to the man’s skull, with one being fragmented. Those injuries, he noted, were consistent with someone being hit with a blunt instrument, thus suggesting that a piece of wood could have been used.

Among those who testified during the trial were the parents of the deceased, ranks of the Police Major Crimes Investigations Unit, and a witness who had seen the deceased entering Sarjoo’s motorcar on August 22, 2016.

The prosecutor’s key witness was a fisherman of Number 67 Village, Corentyne, Berbice, who told the court that he had had a conversation with Chandrapaul in front of his yard.

The witness said that Chandrapaul’s body was found a few days later in a shallow grave in the backlands of Number 68 Village. At the time of the discovery, the body was clad in the same clothes which the late Levan Chandrapaul had last been seen wearing when he entered the convicted murderer’s car.