The Caribbean Court of Justice today struck down the Guyana Court of Appeal’s decision to uphold the Director of Public Prosecution’s direction last year to have former murder accused Marcus Bisram face a High Court trial.
The CCJ found the section of the laws of Guyana which allows the DPP to instruct a Magistrate to commit an accused to face a High Court trial to be unlawful.
Bisram was originally charged in 2019 for the 2016 murder of Berbice carpenter Faiyaz Narinedatt.
In 2020, the Magistrate’s Court found that a strong enough case had not been made out against him and dismissed the matter.
But the Director of Public Prosecutions stepped in and instructed the Magistrate to reinstitute the murder charge, resulting in Bisram being rearrested.
The Magistrate was also instructed by the DPP to commit the matter over to the High Court for a jury trial.
Mr. Bisram’s lawyers quickly challenged the DPP’s instructions and in 2020, he was again freed of the charge after Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall ruled that the DPP’s instructions were unlawful.
That ruling saw the DPP moving to the Court of Appeal and winning the appeal which resulted in the way being cleared for the charge to be filed again.
Bisram’s Attorneys took the case all the way to the Caribbean Court of Justice and in its ruling today, the CCJ agreed with Bisram’s Attorneys that the DPP’s decision to instruct the Magistrate to commit the case to the High Court was indeed unlawful.
CCJ President, Justice Adrian Saunders in handing down the decision today, said the DPP erred in her direction to the Magistrate. He said the directions stood in the way of fairness in the trial.
Justice Saunders pointed out that the Director of Public Prosecutions failed to follow sections of the law that speak to the independence of the Courts.
He questioned how an authority that is not a Court of Appeal and is not a part of the core Judiciary, can actually direct a Court as to how it must dispose of a matter before that Court.
The Court ruled that Bisram should not be charged again on the same evidence, but it was noted that he could be arrested and charged with fresh evidence.
Bisram was represented by a battery of lawyers including Dexter Todd, Sanjeev Datadin and Darshan Ramdanhi.
Bisram welcomed the decision of the Court and said it will now allow him to return to his normal life.
The carpenter, Faiyaz Narinedatt was found dead on the Number 70 Village Public Road on the Corentyne Coast in October 2016.
The case was first treated as a hit-and-run accident, but the post mortem and other evidence pointed to the man being murdered and his body dumped on the roadway.
A number of persons were charged with the murder and Bisram landed on the Police Force’s radar as reports were received of his alleged involvement.
He was extradited from the US to face the murder charge. The other persons held in the matter remain before the Courts.