Judge rules against Bisram’s request to have charge dismissed
Justice Gino Persaud Tuesday afternoon struck out the orders made on September 28, 2017, which sought to prevent the Director of Public Prosecutions, the Chief Magistrate and the Commissioner of Police from continuing the charge of murder against flambouyant philanthropist Marcus Bisram.
Today’s ruling essentially means that Police prosecutors can continue their case against Bisram, who has been accused of ordering the murder of Berbice carpenter Faiyaz Narinedatt exactly one year ago.
The Judge had required that the respondents in the case, upon Bisram’s request, to show cause why his orders should not be made absolute, and hence have the murder charge dismissed. But after reviewing the written affidavits and extensive oral arguments, he felt that there was suppression of material facts in the case and hence struck out the orders.
Through his own research, the judge found that lawyers for Bisram had sought the High Court’s intervention on December 13, 2016, to have the advice of the DPP to have Bisram charged quashed.
However, the judge found that that information was not disclosed in the fresh application to the court as part of the application for the three orders, namely a Writ of Order Certiorari to have the charge quashed and Orders Nisi to prohibit the Chief Magistrate and the Commissioner of Police from continuing with the case.
As such, Justice Persaud found that represented material non-disclosure, given that an application of the type made to the court should be made in utmost good faith. He said that Bisram’s legal team should have presented all facts and must have approached the court with “clean hands.”
Based on what he said was the troubling way the case unfolded, he struck out the orders and awarded costs to the respondents in the sum of $250, 000. That was in the substantive case. Lawyers for Bisram had moved to the court to have the very matter withdrawn, but the Judge said he found the circumstances under which that was done to be troubling.
He said that Bisram’s lawyer Sanjeev Datadin had gone to meet him last Friday to indicate his intention to file a withdrawal and he had also committed to sending his arguments for so doing over the weekend.
However, this was not done and in fact, the Judge found that the notice of discontinuance was filed the very Friday, causing him to believe that there was no intention on the part of Datadin to offer explanations under the Civil Procedures Rules of the court that would have allowed it.
Datadin told the court that he regretted that the explanation was not submitted. Further, the Judge said that it was troubling that the notice of withdrawal was filed on the eve of the ruling on the substantive case.
He said he had put aside a lot of matters to treat the case with urgency and he felt the court needed to act against abuse of the process. Datadin said that that were substantial changes in circumstances and thus the instructions from his clients to discontinue the matter.
He said the last thing his team of lawyers wanted to do was to offend the court.
Justice Persaud said that the court had the power to act if it sees an abuse of the court, if there was an effort to misuse of the court’s procedure, if what was done was manifestly unfair to the parties to litigation, or if what was done would bring the administration of justice into disrepute among right-thinking people.
As such, the Judge struck out the notice of withdrawal, saying it was an abuse of the court process.
Solicitor General Kim Kyte, who represented all of the respondents, said she was pleased with the decision of the Judge and also with the award of costs, saying significant resources were put into the case.
Datadin has claimed that his client, Bisram, is innocent and that the State’s only witness – a teenager who cannot read or write – had recanted his written statement during a Preliminary Inquiry into the charges brought against the five men who Police claimed were ordered by BIsram to kill the carpenter.
However, Kyte maintained that the State’s case is solid against Bisram, and that at no point did the main witness recant his statement that he heard Bisram order Narinedatt’s murder.
Police have claimed that on the night of October 31/November 1, 2016, Narinedatt was at a party at Bisram’s house. At some point, Bisram allegedly made sexual advances towards Narinedatt in the washroom, including touching his penis.
Narinedatt, Police claimed, rebuffed Bisram, by slapping him, and it was then the main witness is said to have heard Bisram told the five others to “kill” Bisram and to beat him till he was dead.
The men accused of doing that are Orlando Dickie, Radesh Motie, Diodatt Datt, Hari Paul Parsram and Niran Yacoob.
On October 12, 2017, Peggy Kuo, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York, certified the extradition of the ‘fugitive” Marcus Bisram.
“The evidence before this Court is sufficient to justify the Fugitive’s committal for trial, on felony charges, had the offence which he is accused of having committed occurred in the United States.
Bisram was arrested in New York on July 4, 2017. A Berbice Magistrate is currently considering the matter to determine if to commit the men to stand trial in the High Court for the murder.
Their lawyer, Sanjeev Datadin, has said he will move to the High Court to have the charges against the men quashed.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This story has been updated from a version published earlier in the day.