Court reduces 80-year jail time for convict who brutally murdered taxi driver

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Balram Singh, who was sentenced to 80 years imprisonment for the 2010 brutal murder of a taxi driver, had his sentence reduced to 35 years on Wednesday by the Court of Appeal on the grounds that the initial sentence was excessive.

In 2015, Balram Singh was sentenced by Justice Navindra Singh at the Demerara High Court after he was found guilty by a 12-member jury of the murder Bhomeshwar Sukhdeo which occurred between January 19 and January 27, 2010.

Dissatisfied with the ruling of the High Court, Singh, with the aid of his attorney, Nigel Hughes, mounted an appeal against his conviction and sentence, claiming several errors in law were made by the trial judge, including imposing an excessive sentence.

The appeal was heard by Chancellor (ag), Yonette Cummings-Edwards and Justices of Appeal, Dawn Gregory, and Rishi Persaud, at the Court of Appeal. The State was represented by Prosecutor Donne McCammon.

Delivering the ruling of the court, the Chancellor said, among other things, that the trial judge erred in the determination of the term of the sentence which she said was “extremely out of character.”

The Appeal Court affirmed Singh’s conviction but reduced his sentence to 35 years. In doing so, the court relied on the CCJ case of Romeo DaCosta 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.

Sukhdeo was a taxi driver who was last seen alive on January 19, 2010, after which a search was launched for him and his car.

On January 27, 2010, the car was found at a workshop in Herstelling New Scheme, East Bank Demerara, and later the badly burnt body of Bhomeshwar Sukhdeo was discovered at the Mocha- Arcadia Access Road, also on the East Bank of Demerara.

It is believed that he was shot in the head and set alight. Singh was later arrested by the police and under caution, he admitted to the crime.

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