By Shemuel Fanfair
The seven persons who were accused of killing 20-year-old Zulfikar Namdar received a unanimous acquittal by a 12-member jury at the High Court on Monday which was met with bouts of emotions before Justice Navindra Singh.
The deceased young man was left in a pool of blood during the course or furtherance of a robbery in September 2013 at his parents’ Meten-Meer-Zorg, West Coast Demerara (WCD) shop that was adjoined to their home. However, after a few weeks of trial and several hours of deliberations, the jury was not convinced that the defendants implicated in the attack were at fault by way of finding all seven not guilty of the capital offence.
Those released were Allan Dorsett called “Baird”; Delwayne Croft; Esan Lawrence, called “Muscle”; Jermaine Williams, called “Yankee”; Andrew Chandler, called “Sonic”; Samuel Bacchus, called “Kirk”; and Cassandra Singh-Dorsett who all denied murdering Namdar last month. When the verdict was read by the jury’s foreperson, the packed courtroom which encountered deafening silence was suddenly met with an outburst of tears from Singh-Dorsett when she heard she was a free woman.
After they were released, they ran to their loved ones who welcomed them with open arms thanking the heavens that they were free persons. Singh-Dorsett had to be assisted down the court steps following her acquittal and in tears, she told the media that “it was hard to be in jail for something you know you did not do.”
“I’m happy and sad at the same time,” the lone female ex-defendant told the press.
Their acquittal follows the testimonies of star witnesses for the prosecution, Chris Jagdeo and self-coined drug pusher Nick Skeete, who said that he is the cousin of number one accused, Allan Dorsett. During the evidence provided by Skeete, he claimed that his cousin would buy marijuana from him. The 2012 deportee had also said that another accused, Jermaine Williams also bought narcotics from him. He had told the jury that he grew up with another accused, Andrew Chandler, who was the dead man’s childhood friend. Throughout the trial, Chandler bore an unsettled disposition and when the matter first began, he almost broke down in tears when the Namdars identified him in court.
Skeete had also outlined that he knew Samuel Bacchus through his cousin while Williams was his wife’s cousin. Skeete also lived 182 metres from the Namdars and claimed that days before the attack, the men bought “some weed” from him and smoked at a tree in his backyard when he supposedly heard them discussing their robbery plan. He had also detailed that on September 10, 2013, the night of the attack, he had heard the men brandishing weapons, having stated that Croft had a long gun while the other had smaller weapons.
Allan Dorsett’s lawyer, Nigel Hughes had, however, argued that Skeete, the drug dealer, planned the attack and crafted a story to have the charge against him dropped because the two getaway cars were seen outside of his home. Attorneys Ashley Henry and Jed Vasconcellos had also appeared for the number one accused.
Dorsett’s wife, Cassandra had been identified as the one who had given the men head ties to cover their faces when they allegedly committed the crime. This was the evidence of Police Detective, Sergeant Rodwell Sarrabo who told the jury that he conducted confrontations with Delwayne Croft, Samuel Bacchus and Allan Dorset.
Attorneys Tuanna Hardy, Abigail Gibbs and Teriq Mohammed were the prosecutors in the case.