Appeal Court orders retrial for duo serving 75 years for murder of businessman

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The Court of Appeal on Tuesday set aside the conviction of two men found guilty of murder in 2015 and ordered a retrial in the very next practical sitting of the Demerara assizes.

In 2015, Devon Thomas, 26, and Randy Isaacs, 21, were found guilty by a jury for the murder of Enterprise, East Coast Demerara businessman, Kumar Mohabir, which occurred on February 23, 2013. They were sentenced to 75 years imprisonment each by High Court Judge, Navindra Singh, with the possibility of parole after serving at least 40 years.

Dissatisfied with the ruling of the High Court, the duo mounted an appeal against their conviction and sentence, claiming several errors in law were made by the trial judge.

Their attorney, Nigel Hughes, contended that the trial judge did not properly put the defence’s case to the jury, in accordance with the law. Hughes also argued that the trial judge erred in law by failing to withdraw the case from the jury and uphold a no-case submission, as the quality of the identification evidence was so poor, it was unsafe for a jury to convict them.

Dead: Kumar Mohabir

Delivering the Court of Appeal’s ruling was Chancellor (ag), Yonette Cummings-Edwards, who noted that the defence’s case should have been properly put to the jury and the jury should have been directed accordingly, taking into consideration the evidence that was provided to the High Court.

The Chancellor allowed the appeal and set aside the conviction and sentence; the other appeal judges included Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud, while the State was represented by Assistant Director of Public Prosecutions, Dionne McCammon.

On February 23, 2013, Mohabir, 25, called “Duksy” and “Fire Link” was brutally stabbed by a drunken mob on Vlissengen Road, Georgetown during the Mashramani celebrations.

He was attacked after he went to the location to collect a tent he rented from his neighbours for the Mashramani Day celebrations; he was stabbed by a group of intoxicated persons, armed with broken bottles.   His brother, Navindra Mohabir, was also attacked when he tried to intervene. Kumar Mohabir died while receiving treatment at the Woodlands Hospital.

Police investigations led to the two accused being arrested and charged with murder.

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