Cop accused of murder freed by High Court
High Court Judge Navindra Singh has quashed the criminal proceedings against interdicted Police Constable Robert Daniels who was charged with the murder of a Brazilian miner.
Daniels of Victoria Road, Plaisance, East Coast Demerara, through attorneys from Dexter Todd and Associates, had filed proceedings against the Attorney General, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) and the Commissioner of Police.
The lawyers argued that the criminal proceeding was unsafe and infringed upon Daniels’ constitutional right to a fair hearing. Daniels, through his lawyers, contended that the criminal proceeding against him is unconstitutional and ultra vires unless the DPP can show cause as to why the order should not be made absolute.
The lawyers had also argued that the investigation into the allegation of murder against Daniels by the Police Complaints Authority was not properly executed.
Based on this investigation, it was recommended by the DPP that Daniels be charged with the capital offence on August 17, 2018.
Daniels was committed to stand trial by Magistrate Crystal Liverpool on October 23, 2019, following a preliminary inquiry (PI).
However, in February 2022, the DPP indicted Daniels for the lesser count of manslaughter.
Daniels was released on $250,000 bail pending his criminal trial following an application by his attorneys before another judge.
Justice Singh ruled in favour of the defence and set aside Daniels’ committal by the Magistrate.
The DPP’s order of indictment was also voided, and the court stressed the need for the authorities to follow the law.
On August 11, 2018, 37-year-old Brazilian miner, Estevao Costa Marques was shot in the head at Puruni River Landing.
Police Headquarters had revealed that Daniels and a subordinate officer of the Kurupung Police Station abandoned their post for patrol duties.
They ended up at the Puruni Landing, Region Seven on the day in question and the subordinate officer remained in the boat while an armed Daniels proceeded to the scene.
Shortly after, two explosions were heard and the miner was found lying on the ground a short distance away; he was picked up, placed in a boat and taken to the main landing.
Daniels had argued that the miner discharged a loaded firearm at him and he defended himself by returning fire.
A post-mortem examination found that the Brazilian miner was shot in the back of the head from a range of more than five feet, which could mean that he was running away at the time of the incident.