Ex-cop found not guilty on manslaughter charge

L-R: Shawn Sandy and Feroze Khan
L-R: Shawn Sandy and Feroze Khan

Former Police Sergeant Shawn Sandy has been found not guilty on a manslaughter charge.

The former Joint Services member was on trial before Justice Navindra Singh and a 12-member jury for the March 24, 2016 unlawful killing of dredge owner Feroze Khan, which occurred at King Buoy Hole, Mazaruni, Region Seven (Cuyuni-Mazaruni).

Following the close of the prosecution’s case, which was presented by State Counsel Tiffini Lyken, Sandy’s lawyer, George Thomas made a submission of no case to answer. The submissions were upheld by the trial judge, who directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.

The Police Force, in a statement, said that Sandy had allegedly found a handgun and was showing it to 30-year-old Khan at King Buoy Hole, Mazaruni when a round was discharged.

Sandy was reportedly struck to his right hand and Khan to his abdomen. Khan was pronounced dead on arrival at the Bartica Hospital, while Sandy was admitted a patient. Following investigations, he was charged.

At the time of his demise, Feroze had two children and his wife was pregnant.

Thomas, in the no-case submission, submitted that the prosecution failed to establish a prima facie case of manslaughter against his client, and as such, there is not sufficient evidence for him to be called upon to lead a defence. According to Thomas, the only evidence as to what transpired on the day in question comes from a caution statement and oral statement given to Police by his client.

“This caution statement and oral statement does not suggest that [Sandy] aimed or pointed the gun to the deceased. There is no evidence of malice or any assault by [Sandy] to the deceased. Throughout [Sandy] claims the incident was an accident,” defence counsel argued.

According to Thomas, the uncontradicted caution statement of his client suggests that he and Khan were both examining the gun when it accidentally went off and struck him. “There is no evidence whether direct or circumstantial that supports a reasonable inference other than [Sandy] accidentally applied force to the trigger thereby letting off the fatal shot,” counsel added.

Emphasising that Sandy is not charged with possession of a gun or discharging a loaded firearm with intent, Thomas noted that his client is said to have been handling and examining the gun along with the deceased which itself is not an unlawful act.

Moreover, Thomas contended “[Sandy] is not said to have aimed the gun at the deceased.

He is not said to have been in any confrontation with the deceased. There is nothing to suggest that the act of the accused was unlawful.” Taking the submissions into consideration, the lawyer urged the trial judge to rule in favour of the no-case submission and direct the jury accordingly.