Man who stabbed wife to death has death sentence commuted to 25 years

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Rupert Brown called “Bird Man,” who in 2014 was sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of his reputed wife Seema Singh, on Friday had his sentence reduced to 25 years by the Court of Appeal.

On October 17, 2014, High Court Justice Brassington Reynolds had imposed the death sentence on Brown after a 12-member jury found him guilty of murdering Singh.

Dissatisfied, Brown with the aid of his attorney Mark Conway, moved to the Appeal Court to have his conviction and sentencing overturned. Conway had argued that the sentencing was excessive and was unconstitutional.

The appeal was heard before the Chancellor (ag) of the Judiciary, Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices of Appeal Dawn Gregory and Rishi Persaud. The state was represented by prosecutor Teshana Lake.

State prosecutor Lake, in her submission to the court, had conceded that instead of the death sentence the trial judge should have imposed a term of years or a life sentence onto Brown.

Delivering the ruling of the court, Justice Cummings-Edwards, among other things, commended the state prosecutor for taking such a stance.

The Appeal Court upheld the conviction and commuted the death sentence to 25 years. In doing so, the court relied on the CCJ case of Romeo Da Costa 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.

According to reports, on May 29, 2011, Singh, 30, was murdered at Helena Number One Village, Mahaica, East Coast Demerara where she went to visit her two children.

Brown, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia, became annoyed since Singh failed to return within a certain time to their Richmond Village, Essequibo Coast home.

He went in search of Singh and confronted her at Helena Number One Village, and she refused to return home with Brown due to him allegedly being abusive.

In a fit of rage, Brown grabbed Singh and stabbed her several times about her body with a sharp object. Singh was rushed to the Georgetown Public Hospital where she later succumbed.

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