In an effort to quash their March 2015 conviction for the murder of 16-year-old Neesa Gopaul, her mother, Bibi Gopaul and Jarvis Small on Friday argued that prejudicial evidence was led against them by the prosecution which rendered their conviction unsafe.
Gopaul and Small, her former lover, were sentenced to 102- and 96-years’ imprisonment respectively by Justice Navindra Singh for the murder of the former Queen’s College student.
Both Gopaul and Small are contesting their conviction and sentence on the basis that the trial judge made several errors in law which included admitting prejudicial evidence and failing to properly direct the Jury. They argue that the sentences received were excessive, irrational and not grounded in any established legal principles as required by law.
Media reports are that the dismembered and headless remains of the younger Gopaul were found stuffed in a suitcase in a creek along the Linden-Soesdyke Highway in the latter part of 2010.
Also discovered were a passport and a bank card that bore the teen’s name. The suitcase was wrapped with rope and attached to dumbbells in an apparent effort to keep the young woman’s body submerged.
The victim’s body was found days after she was reported missing from her Leonora, West Coast Demerara home. Her cause of death was multiple blunt force trauma to the head.
Hearing the appeal virtually on Friday were Chancellor of the Judiciary, Justice Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices of Appeal Rishi Persaud and Dawn Gregory.
Representing Small are Attorneys-at-Law Nigel Hughes, Ronald Daniels and Sophia Findlay, while Arud Gosai appeared on behalf of Gopaul.
The Court of Appeal will hear further arguments in this case on Wednesday, November 11, 2020.