Marcus Bisram case: Prosecution, defence clash over paper committal

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It was another day of back and forth when the case into the death of Fayaz Narinedat was called on Monday at the Whim Magistrate’s Court in Berbice.

In court on Monday, lawyers for murder accused, Marcus Bisram, argued that the previous Magistrate, Alex Moore, had already ruled that the matter will proceed by way of a paper committal.
Attorney-at-Law Sanjeev Datadin, who headed the defence team, argued that since that determination was made, the current Magistrate had no jurisdiction to rule otherwise.

This submission came after Prosecutor Stacy Goodings sought to call a witness – a 17-year-old – to the witness box when the preliminary inquiry commenced. She said the teenager is the main witness for the prosecution.

According to her, the prosecution has video evidence that they want to show to the court and also to visit the scene of the crime. In addition, the prosecutor said that there are photographs that they would like to have tendered with an explanation so that should there be a need to make an application, they can do so.

However, Datadin asked whether the paper committal could not be used to do so.
He argued that with a paper committal, all of the evidence is being presented.

Datadin pointed out to the media the fact that the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) made a ruling on the matter saying that the prosecution is to be ready expeditiously. He questioned the actions of the prosecution in relation to the ruling by the CCJ.
One of the reasons for a paper committal is that vulnerable witnesses could sit comfortably in their homes and write their evidence and the court would accept it, he reminded the court.

Referring to the teenage witness, Datadin said he lied to the court and when asked, said he did it because the prosecution told him to do so.
However, Datadin said the defence also wanted to call the said witness and based on what came from that witness, a second witness may be called.

He argued that Magistrate Moore made that ruling and it still stands. “All we want is to ask the witness a few questions,” he told the court.
But Goodings said that the prosecution needed to put the witness on the stand because he was vulnerable but Datadin replied saying that vulnerability was is no reason to call a witness.

Goodings explained to the court that the witness was not literate and it is the view of the prosecution that it would be better able to present its case if they were able to bring the witness to court and point out where he was at the time of the alleged crime.

She said she was not there to waste the court’s time and wants to call at least 15 of the 32 witnesses listed.

According to her, most of the other witnesses only apply to the other five that were charged with the same crime.

Meanwhile, Magistrate Renita Singh said she is going to rule on the applications of both the prosecution and the defence next Monday.

Last Thursday Acting Chief Magistrate Sherdel Isaacs-Marcus denied the request for the preliminary inquiry to be held in a Georgetown court.

Bisram is accused of ordering the death of Fayaz Narinedatt, a carpenter of Number 70 Village, Corentyne, on November 30, 2016.

His death was initially reported as a suspected hit-and-run accident. It was later reported that Bisram made sexual advances to Narinedatt, who objected to his advances.

Bisram was initially charged here in absentia, while five others: Orlando Dickie, Radesh Motie, Diodath Datt, Harri Paul Parsram, and Niran Yacoob have also been committed to stand trial for the murder of Faiyaz Narinedatt.