After facing two trials and both ending in a hung jury at the Demerara High Court, Rondell Bacchus of C Field, Sophia Squatting Area, Greater Georgetown, on Wednesday opted to plead guilty to the charges of manslaughter and three counts of robbery related offences, halting another re-trial.
The accused, originally charged with murder, stood before Justice Navindra Singh and pleaded guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter, which stated that on July 24, 2008, in Georgetown, he unlawfully killed scrap metal dealer Akbar Alli.
The second charge stated that on the said date and location, the accused being armed with a gun robbed Alli and his wife, Rameena Bibi Hydar, of over $2.1 million. The other charges read that on August 15, 2008, at Georgetown, Bacchus had in his possession a .38 colt revolver along with six matching rounds of ammunition without being a licensed firearm holder.
Bacchus pleaded guilty to all the charges after it was read to him. Attorney Nigel Hughes in association with Ashley Henry and Ronald Daniels represented the accused, while the State’s case was led by Prosecutor Tuanna Hardy, in association with Teriq Mohammed and Abigail Gibbs.
In a plea of mitigation, defence attorney Hughes asked the court to be lenient with his client as he would have had extensive time to re-think what he did and is remorseful for his actions which caused a life to be lost.
Meanwhile, Bacchus is a statement told the Judge that he did not come to waste the court’s time but rather accept the responsibility for the offence, as well as to apologise for what he had done.
Justice Singh before sentencing the accused advised him that he should prepare himself for his release back into society as he is still young and can contribute to society. As such, Bacchus was sentenced to 16 years, eight months for the offence of manslaughter, three years for armed robbery and one year each for illegal possession of firearm and ammunition, which is to run concurrently.
According to reports, on the day in question, around 13:00h, Alli withdrew about $2.1 million from a city bank and went with his wife to another city bank after which he proceeded to Brickdam to transact business with an auto dealer.
He parked and along with his wife, exited the vehicle, when two men rode up on a motorcycle and snatched the bag containing the money which his wife had.
The men then rode away, but Alli gave chase, and one of the bandits shot him in the chest. The injured man was taken to the Georgetown Public Hospital where he eventually succumbed.