Four prison officers, a Venezuelan woman and a Parika resident were this afternoon charged and remanded to prison over the escape of notorious death row inmate and convicted mass murderer, Royden Williams aka “Smallie”.
Appearing via Zoom before Magistrate Christel Lambert of the Bartica Magistrates’ Court, Prison Officers Alexander Hopkinson, Conroy Hosannah, Omar Witherspoon and Oldfield Romulas were charged along with Venezuelan national, Frangeline Flores and Parika Snackette owner, Rajmohan Outar for conspiring with others unknown to allow the escape of death row prisoner, Royden Williams.
The Prosecutor objected to bail on the grounds that the matter is a serious one and all six of the accused were allegedly involved in the escape of the prisoner.
Attorney Patrice Henry who represented prison officers Hosannah and Witherspoon told the Court that both of his clients are junior ranks attached to the Prison Service who were carrying out their duties at the time of the escape.
He said by being junior ranks, the two were following orders in relation to the activities that preceeded the prisoner’s escape. He said he is concerned that the two ranks were placed before the Courts even with an incomplete file.
Attorney Bernard DaSilva represented the interest of prison officer Alexander Hopkinson, who is a retired prison officer that was rehired. He said his client was left surprised that he was being charged and only found out about the charge moments before the Court hearing began.
Attorney Eusi Anderson represented the interest of Prison Officer Oldfield Romulas. He said his client has an unblemished record and he is surprised that the officer from Georgetown who granted permission for the prisoner to be visited is not before the Courts.
The other two accused, the Venezuelan woman and the Parika snackette owner were both unrepresented. Speaking through an interpreter, the Venezuelan woman said she is living illegally in Guyana and works in the mining community as a “cook”, while providing other services in the mining community.
In refusing bail to all six of the accused, Magistrate Lambert explained that the charge is a very serious one and because of the nature of the proceedings and the fact that the escapee is still at large, she believes it is best that the six accused be remanded to jail.
The Magistrate however, ordered that the remanded prison officers be held away from the general population of the prison for their own safety.
The Police Prosecutor told the Court that the Police file remains incomplete, but contains a number of statements related to those charged.
The matter will come up again on the 22nd June.
The escapee, Royden Williams, remains on the run, with no trace of his whereabouts. A joint services operation was launched in search of him.
Williams, who was convicted and sentenced to death on a number of murder charges, made his daring escape from the Mazaruni jail while being taken back to his cell following a visit with a Venezuelan woman. The prison came under attack from a boatload of gunmen who opened fire, forcing prison officer to run for cover and return fire, while Williams escaped in the boat with the gunmen.
The investigations are ongoing.
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