Letter: Was the release of Bibi Gopaul a gross miscarriage of justice?

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CONVICTED: Bibi Shareema Gopaul

Dear Editor

Was the release of Bibi Gopaul a human error or a cold calculated trick that was meant to deceive and pull off one of Guyana’s most daring judicious political stunts? It is a question that has stunned our consciences ever since and one that has left a bitter taste in the mouths of every Guyanese far and wide. On my part, the release of this cold-blooded murderer is not a surprise by any stretch of the imagination, and I will tell you why.

In a country where race and politics play an integral part in every matter, this case is no different from any other before it. Are you aware that mass murderer Rhondell “Smallie” Williams was to be released from prison? Yes, he should have, the only problem with his release was that he had other cases of a capital nature pending before the courts, so he had to wait until those cases were successfully adjudicated before he could take his place as a freed man among us.

Smallie was acquitted of the mass murders at Lusignan by our High Court here, although there was damning evidence that there were gross underhand dealings between counsel and jurors in that case, the jury tampering which effectively gave him an acquittal. That matter went to the Appeal Court, which saw a similar judgement. If not undone yet, the matter was further sent to the CCJ which upheld our local Appeal Court’s ruling. When the matter of jury tampering came up before the lead Justice of the CCJ at the time, said, that jury tampering was immaterial to the case at hand, and as such they could not have rendered another verdict against the accused. Fascinating! Utterly fascinating!

Was this a matter of the apex court viewing the matter of jury tampering as some kind of a joke? Or was this justice through strange lenses? Whichever the interpretation, is this the reason why the host country Trinidad is not a signatory to the CCJ as their final court of appeal? Questions, just honest, reasonable questions, that should generate some reasoned, educated answers!

Now back to the Neesa Gopaul case, here we have a situation of an interracial love relationship in which the daughter came in the way. Both the prime suspect and his colluding girlfriend were convicted and given lengthy sentences. The Appeal Court upheld sentencing but with reduced years of incarceration, however, when the matter came up in the apex court, the “actual murderer” was freed while the sentence of the murder convict’s mother, was further reduced to something almost unrecognisable. The lead Justice, in this case, reasoned that circumstantial evidence is not enough to render a verdict against a murder accused, similar summation, similar judgements. Thus, I would reasonably conclude like my local Attorney General, that not all the decisions of the apex court one can readily agree with.

Turning to the matter of calculating the number of years Bibi Gopaul spent in jail and her parole, again the usual suspect’s method of tabulation has come up way too short. In the first place who ordered her release? Was it not an issue of good behaviour and time spent, which tells you that this is a Parole Board Matter? I listened to questions put to both the Head of the Parole Board as well as the Prison Chief, the first knows nothing of parole, while the Chief of Prisons gave a convoluted response that would send one into convulsive fits of laughter. I think heads should roll somebody needs to lose their job immediately.

This is a simple arithmetic, but it goes without saying, if a matter of what constitutes a majority in a 65-seat Parliament, then what is? The hilarious reasoning of 32+34 = 65 reaching a court of law tells you much about the mental faculties of those who are at the top of our system. I know math is not their strong point but when crap can take up court time, tells you where we are going on a Guyana landscape.

Make no mistake, everyone is watching, both the judicial process as well as those who hold public office, we will not stand idly by and accept gross mediocrity at the expense of justice.

Respectfully,
Neil Adams