Marcus Bisram Murder PI: Defense, State locked in legal battle

US-based Guyanese and former murder accused Marcus Bisram

Legal arguments pertaining to the Marcus Bisram trial continued earlier today at the Whim Magistrate’s Court with both the prosecution and the defense citing parts of the law to support their arguments.

The prosecution has contended that it has the right to call witnesses to take to the stand during the Preliminary Inquiry (PI) while the defense is contending that since it is a paper committal, the prosecution should not be given the luxury of calling witnesses to the stand.

The prosecution has indicated to the court that it intends to call 15 witnesses and the defense only wants to call one witness.

Those were the contentious issues when the matter was called up last week and Magistrate Renita Singh was expected to make a ruling today.

Murder accused, Marcus Bisram

However, when the matter was called today State Prosecutor Stacey Goodings pointed to Section 71A of the Criminal Law Act citing the course by which evidence is to be taken and more so, it gives the prosecution the right to call witnesses.

Goodings noted that defense has been using the very section to say the trial should proceed by way of paper committal. She explained that the State has to be adequately capable to present its case and at the end of the day, it is the Prosecution which is burdened with the responsibility to prove that a prima facie case was made out against the accused.

This process, she added also gives the defense an opportunity to cross-examine a witness which is ensuring justice.

She also argued that the prosecution has disclosed fully to the court and the defense all evidence pertaining to the matter.

However, attorney at law Sanjeev Datadin in response to the prosecutor also referred to Section 6 of 71A and noted that the prosecution cannot cross-examine its own witnesses.

He told the court that Section 62 to 68 of the law were made in the 1950s and section 71A is the amendment to those laws which was put into Law in 2008.

During Monday’s hearing Datain said the defense has accepted all of the evidence.

The defense told the court that it will take one day to conclude the Preliminary Inquiry if it is allowed to only call one or two witnesses but it will take forty-five trial days if evidence is to be taken from fifteen witnesses.

Bisram, Datadin noted, does not need to hear all of the evidence in court.  Meanwhile, Magistrate Renita Singh has set February 10, as the day she will made a ruling on the submissions.

Both sides are be ready to proceed depending with the matter.