Senior Magistrate recuses himself from Marcus Bisram case
The court proceedings for murder accused Marcus Bisram took another twist Monday when the matter was called at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court with Senior Magistrate Alex Moore recusing himself from the case.
Moore, in recusing himself, said he was instructed to do so by the Chancellor of the Judiciary (ag) Yonette Cummings – Edwards.
The News Room understands that the Senior Magistrate received a letter from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to recuse himself followed by a petition which said he was biased.
The petition detailed on the December 2 at the Whim Magistrate’s Court, Moore was “openly prejudicial” and bias to the prosecution which is led by State Prosecutor Stacy Goodings.
As such the matter was adjourned to January 13, 2020, at the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court where the Chief Magistrate is expected to re-assign the case to another Magistrate.
Bisram is accused of orchestrating the brutal murder of 26-year-old carpenter Faiyaz Narinedatt between October 31 and November 1, 2016.
The petition was filed by the family of Narinedatt.
Monday was set for the disclosure of statements and evidence to the defence, a site visit to the murder scene and a cross-examination of a witness, however, none of that was achieved based on the new development.
A visibly upset defence attorney Sanjeev Datadin told the media that the complaints by the DPP has no “bearings.”
He said he was not informed of the request to have the Magistrate recuse himself while noting that fair and due process dictates that the defence should be informed.
“We’ve seen it all over the media, so clearly it’s more fitting to tell the media what’s going on than to tell actually Mr Bisram and the lawyers. I don’t understand why that is so but Ms Goodings came with an agenda. From the very first occasion she came, she wanted three weeks to photocopy documents…while Mr Bisram sits in prison all the time,” Datadin told the media.
He referred to the ruling of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) earlier this year for the case to be prosecuted in a speedy manner.
Bisram’s other lawyer, Dexter Todd said the actions of the Prosecutor is a “clear contempt of court.”
“We will definitely not allow this to continue,” Todd told reporters.
Todd said “frivolous excuses” should not be used to damage the integrity of judicial officers.
“You can’t have a situation where people come up with all sort of frivolous excuse to impune the integrity of a judicial officer without any solid evidence.”
From the inception, the defence has been arguing for a speedy trial and accused the State Prosecutor of purposefully delaying the case.
Public Security Minister Khemraj Ramjattan last Wednesday said it was “embarrassing” that the State is not ready to prosecute Bisram, despite fighting for his extradition from the United States for two years.
Ramjattan had promised to meet with the DPP and the Chancellor on the matter but it is not clear whether this meeting was held.
Bisram was charged on November 21 at the Whim’s Magistrate’s Court with the murder of Narinedatt.
When the matter was recalled on December 09, Prosecutor Goodings did not show up to disclose the evidence to the defence and efforts made by the Police Prosecutor to contact her in Georgetown proved futile.
This forced the Magistrate who was sitting in, Peter Hugh to postpone the hearing to December 16 for disclosure of all evidence to defence at the Springlands Magistrate’s Court.
An initial request by the State to adjourn the case to January 2020 was denied by Magistrate Alex Moore.
The State’s request for the case to proceed via a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) was also denied by the Magistrate who ruled in the favour of the defence for a paper committal instead.
The PI would have allowed the State to call witnesses to give testimony.
A scheduled visit to the scene of the murder was also postponed on December 9 after Magistrate Moore reported sick.
The series of events has since caused the defence to suspect that the State is deliberately delaying the case while Bisram remains incarcerated.
The Police’s claim is that at the party on the night of October 31, Bisram made sexual advances against Narinedatt, including touching his penis, and when Narinedatt refused, by slapping him, he told others to kill the carpenter.