DPP’s appeal against High Court order freeing Marcus Bisram set for Dec 18

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Marcus Bisram

Arguments in an appeal filed by Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack  against a High Court order freeing US-based Guyanese Marcus Bisram for the 2016 murder of Berbice carpenter, Faiyaz Narinedatt, will be heard on December 18, 2020, by the Court of Appeal.

On Friday, Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings and Justices of Appeal Rishi Persaud and Dawn Gregory held a Case Management Conference (CMC) during which certain preliminary issues were ironed out.

It was alleged that on the day of the killing, Bisram had a party at his home which Narinedatt and others attended. Media reports are that Narinedatt went to the yard and was followed by Bisram who reportedly came up behind him and started “feeling him up.” It was reported that Narinedatt slapped and chucked Bisram who subsequently allegedly directed his friends to kill him.

According to reports, several men beat the carpenter and dumped his body on the Number 70 Village Corentyne, Berbice home. It was reported that they then drove over his body to make it appear like a vehicle accident.

Murdered: Faiyaz Narinedatt

In June 2020, High Court Judge Simone Morris-Ramlall issued an order quashing the directive by Ali-Hack to Magistrate Renita Singh for Bisram to be committed to stand trial for the capital offence in the High Court.

The DPP issued the directive immediately after the Magistrate discharged the charge against Bisram on the ground of insufficient evidence.

The DPP was at the time exercising powers conferred her on under section 72 (1) and (2) (ii) (b) of the Criminal Law Offences Act.

Bisram then moved to the High Court appealing the DPP’s directive to the Magistrate asking that it be quashed as it is unreasonable, unlawful, malicious, made in bad faith, made by ignoring relevant considerations and taking into account irrelevant considerations, ultra vires, contrary to the rules of natural justice and made without any legal foundation.

Notwithstanding the appeal filed by the DPP, Bisram remains a free man.

Justice Ramlall had ruled that the DPP’s directive for committal of Bisram to Magistrate Renita Singh, who had discharged the charge against Bisram following a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) on March 30, 2020, was unlawful.

In examining the evidence against Bisram, the Judge underscored, “…The evidence is insufficient, or, in other words, it is not of the quality that a reasonable jury properly directed could safely convict on it. The state or extent of the evidence is a relevant factor that should have been taken into account by the DPP in arriving at her decisions.”

In the end, the Judge issued an order quashing the DPP’s directive for Bisram’s committal; an order that the arrest of Bisram on March 30, 2020, was unlawful; an order that the continued incarceration of Bisram since his arrest on March 30, 2020, is unlawful; another order compelling the DPP, Attorney General and Commissioner of Police to release Bisram from custody forthwith; and a next order preventing the DPP from bringing a murder charge against Bisram in the High Court.

Bisram, on the other hand, is appealing a ruling by Justice Morris-Ramlall’s in which she rejected submissions proffered by his lawyer that section 72 of the Criminal Law Offences Act is unconstitutional since the provision infringes on Articles 122 A and 144 (1) of the Constitution and the doctrine of the separation of powers.

Since his extradition from the United States to Guyana, Bisram has been accusing the authorities of attempting to score cheap political points when there was no evidence linking him to the murder of Narinedatt. After he was freed on March 30, 2020, he had threatened to sue the State for unlawful detention and arrest.

Four other men: Orlando Dickie, Radesh Motie, Diodath Datt, Harri Paul Parsram, and Niran Yacoob are currently awaiting trial at the High Court for Narinedatt’s murder.