Court of Appeal upholds murder conviction of Essequibo Coast man

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The Court of Appeal on Wednesday upheld the murder conviction and 20-year jail sentence of 47-year-old Clevon Romeo, of Lima, Essequibo Coast, who was charged with the October 24, 2012 murder of a 56-year-old businessman, Herman Ramnarine.

Ramnarine was murdered in his home during a robbery by two armed men; he was found by his wife in their Lima, Essequibo Coast house with his hands bound behind his back and a piece of cloth tied to his throat. His cause of death was given as strangulation.

In 2014, a jury found Romeo guilty of the crime and he was sentenced by Justice Franklin Holder, at the Suddie High Court.  Shortly after, Romeo through his attorney, Dexter Todd, appealed his conviction and sentence. Romeo had asked the Appeal Court to set aside and/ or reverse the decision of the High Court.

The appeal was heard by Chancellor (ag), Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices of Appeal, Rishi Persaud and Dawn Gregory. The State was represented by prosecutor Natasha Bakker.

Bakker disclosed to the court that there was a notice of abandonment, claiming that Todd neglected to represent Rome. Todd indicated to the court that he was informed that Romeo sought new counsel, however, given the mix-up, he still appeared on Romeo’s behalf.  Todd asked the Appeal Court to consider that this was Romeo’s first brush with the law and noted that he was charged for the offence since 2012.

Delivering the ruling of the court, Justice Cummings-Edwards dismissed the appeal and stated that Romeo’s conviction and the sentence still stands.

However, the Chancellor noted that the sentence is reduced to reflect the time already spent in pre-trial custody. In doing so, the court relied on the CCJ case of Romeo Da Cost Hall vs The Queen in which it was held that full credit should be granted for the time an accused person spent in pre-trial custody.

The Appeal Court further ordered that the sentence would take effect from the date of conviction.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This story initially stated that Attorney Todd told the Court of Appeal that he was not paid for his services; however, that is not true. The News Room sincerely apologies for this grave error and for any damage caused to Mr Todd’s reputation. 

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