“Bold yet baseless” are the words used by Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum to describe the contentions contained in a letter sent to the Guyana Police Force (GPF) by Bernard DaSilva, the attorney representing the accused charged with the murder of, Kirwyn Mars, aka “Sir Mars”.
In a May 23 letter, Da Silva had asked the Police to explain how a video-recorded interview of his client, Brian Richards, 24, purportedly confessing to the crime was released to the media.
The defence lawyer had said that the video was published without “due process” being observed, and that its “ill-advised” release would inevitably cast a dark shadow of prejudice in regard to a fair trial for his client. The video was first published by the News Room.
The Crime Chief, who is also an Attorney-at-Law, has rubbished Da Silva’s argument.
“For your information, counsel, due process, and a fair trial are both guaranteed and enshrined in the Constitution of Guyana for every accused in any criminal trial before a court of competent jurisdiction. Let me remind you Counsel that the preliminary inquiry into the charge of murder against your client has not yet commenced, but when same begins, the Honourable and Learned Magistrate who is a professional would be able to disabuse his or her mind from anything he or she would have heard or read that was reported in the press,” Blanhum told DaSilva.
The Crime Chief said that if the case eventually goes before the jury, the Judge will repeatedly caution the jury that they are only to consider the evidence that is before the court. “This means, all reports in the press whether it be the untruths told by the alleged relatives of the accused or the video contradicting the fabrication told by the purported relatives of your client, in that, your client was merely given a paper to sign and he did not know what was on the paper.
“These would all have to be disregarded by the Magistrate and Judge if they conclude that a fair trial is possible with their assistance, as was enunciated by Mohammed J in the case of The State V Abu Bakr a/c Lennox Phillip Cr No 75 of 2006 (Unreported, Trinidad and Tobago).”
While he contemplated legal remedies about the release of the video, the lawyer had called on the Police to issue a directive that the video be removed immediately from all forms of circulation.
But in responding to Da Silva, Blanhum made it clear that the Police Force has no legal authority to issue directives to any media house on what they ought to remove from their platform.
He added, “However, any first-year law student, let alone a seasoned attorney-at-law, would know that an aggrieved party can seek such an order via an application for an injunction from the High Court of the Supreme Court of Judicature. Alternatively, given your rather long-established familiar relationship with certain media outlets, perhaps you can make such a simple request in the same vein that you shared your correspondence.”
Blanhum has since informed DaSilva that there is currently an active investigation pending into an allegation of an attempt to pervert the course of justice by a named individual, responsible for deliberate falsehoods reported in the press in relation to the murder trial of his client.
Mars, 51, of Lot 211 New Settlers Street, Mocha, East Bank Demerara (EBD) was found pinned between his car and the fence of an apartment building at Perseverance, EBD on Sunday, May 7.
An autopsy revealed that he was stabbed eight times, including to his chest, right shoulder, collarbone, left hand, and right elbow, and has given the cause of his death as injuries to the chest as a result of being crushed, compounded by “multiple cutaneous wounds.”
It has been reported that, two days after committing the crime, Richards was arrested at his place of employment. He has since allegedly confessed to the murder. Mars, who was Deputy Principal at the New Central High School in Georgetown, had been a teacher since 1992. He was also an actor.