Top Cop takes offence to remarks made by Magistrate in piracy attack case


A Berbice Magistrate on Wednesday called investigators attached to the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) a “bunch of jokers”, something which did not go down well with acting Police Commissioner David Ramnarine.
Magistrate Rabindranauth Singh while presiding over the case of the recent piracy attack criticised the Police, saying they are “behaving like bunch of jokers” as it relates to confusion whether to withdraw or put forward charges for the accused.

The Magistrate told the court that it has to be balanced and therefore cannot take sides.
His comments came as he presided over the murder case emanating from the piracy attack, which left four dead and 11 unaccounted for.

On Wednesday, Premnauth Persaud, called “Sanbad” or “Boy”, 43, of Cromarty Village; and Nakool Manohar, called “Fyah”, 39, of Number 43 Village reappeared at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court where they were jointly charged with two counts of murder.

They were not required to plea to the indictable charge which stated that between April 27 and May 3 at sea, they murdered Tillacknauth Mohabir, called “Caiman”; and Mahesh Sarjoo, called “Koba” during the course of a robbery.

Last month, Manohar appeared before the same Magistrate, charged with the murder and was remanded. However, on Wednesday, the Police withdrew that charge and imposed the joint double murder charge on the duo. It was in relation to this that the Magistrate made the aforementioned remarks.

However, the Magistrate later came under fire from Police Commissioner (ag) David Ramnarine, who in a brief statement on Wednesday night called the remarks “derogatory”.

“I wish to indicate that those statements or remarks made by the supposedly learned Magistrate are insulting and reckless and certainly should never have been uttered.”

According to the Top Cop, the Force’s Criminal Investigation Department conducted the probe into this matter with the due diligence required.

“[The investigators] worked well over and above the normal call of duty, in oftentimes difficult circumstances, finally resulting in the preferment of the charges, which received legal advice. It seems quite clear that the Magistrate probably has an axe to grind against the team of investigators and maybe other Police Officers,” Ramnarine noted.

He added that this can be reasonably deduced from the fact that Magistrate Singh was previously removed from presiding over a very high-profile murder case in which the very investigators were involved.

“I can only conclude that his unfortunate and reckless utterances intended to malign these hardworking Police Officers and our legal advisors are as a result of his youthfulness, inexperience and being unschooled,” the Top Cop posited.

Nevertheless, during the court proceedings earlier in the day, Nakool was represented by Attorney Joel Edmond who asked the court about the readiness of the file, saying the Police seemed to be confused. He noted that the Police were not sure whether to charge the duo along with Alexander Denhearte jointly.

He also noted that the Police had moved the date of the alleged offence from April 27 to April 26. He also asked that charges against Manohar for 2015 and 2016 be discharged.

Manohar was last month remanded on the two previous charges of robbery on the high seas committed in 2015 and 2016 respectively.

Police Prosecutor Inspector Orin Joseph asked the court for 14 days to return for report and fixture. Meanwhile, Persaud who was unrepresented, told the Magistrate he was beaten and starved while in custody.

They will all have to return to court on June 26. (Andrew Carmichael)


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