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Murder accused Marcus Bisram asks CCJ to declare law on DPP’s role unconstitutional

Last Updated on Thursday, 11 November 2021, 11:44 by Denis Chabrol

Marcus Bisram

Murder accused United States-based Guyanese, Marcus Bisram on Thursday asked the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to declare as unconstitutional a section of the Criminal Law Offences Act that allows the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) to direct a magistrate to recommit a person to a retrial even if the courts find that there has been insufficient evidence.

Through his Attorney-at-Law, Dharshan Ramdhanie, Bisram asked the Trinidad-based appeal court declare Section 72 of the Criminal Law Offences Act as unconstitutional because it collides with Article 122 of Guyana’s Constitution.

He argued against the Court of Appeal’s position that the Magistracy was not part of the judiciary, saying that it is Judicial and Legal Services Commission that appoints judges, magistrates and the DPP.

Mr. Ramdhanie also asked the CCJ to declare that Bisram could not be dragged before the court again, based on a changes to the law because the Magistrates’ court and the High Court have found that  there had been insufficient evidence to commit him for a jury trial for the murder of  Fiayaz Narinedatt at Number 70 Village, Corentyne, between October 31 and November 1, 2016.

A Magistrate had found that the State’s star witness, who could not read or write, had recanted his evidence and had been deemed to have lacked credibility under cross examination and so there had been insufficient evidence.

Bisram, through his lawyer, also argued before the CCJ on Thursday that the DPP did not comply with Section 72 by first reviewing the depositions and evidence to ascertain that no magistrate could have come to any other conclusion before issuing the final direction to commit the accused to a retrial.

Attorney-at-Law Ramdhanie stressed the importance of strict compliance with the provisions of the law by the DPP herself. He said all of the evidence should have been seen by the DPP personally who must for that opinion instead of splitting the tasks with someone else.

The Guyana Court of Appeal has so far found that there is sufficient evidence for Bisram to face trial as a reasonable jury might find him guilty.