The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) has discontinued a charge against the wife of the alleged gang leader accused of the murder of former Independent Senator Dana Seetahal, SC.
The announcement was made as the preliminary inquiry into charges arises out of Seetatal’s murder came up for virtual hearing before Magistrate Indrani Cedeno this afternoon.
Senior Counsel Gilbert Peterson and Assistant DPP George Busby, who are leading the prosecution team, indicated that the State would be discontinuing the charge of assisting a gang in commiting Seetahal’s murder against Rajaee Ali’s wife Stacy Griffith as there was insufficient evidence to prosecute her.
The decision did not mean that Griffith no longer faces criminal charges as she is still charged with being a member of Ali’s alleged gang.
Seetahal was shot dead behind the wheel of her SUV while driving along Hamilton Holder Street in Woodbrook on May 4, 2014.
On July 25, 2015, Ali, his brothers Ishmael and Hamid Ali; Devaughn Cummings, Ricardo Stewart, Earl Richards, Stephan Cummings, Kevin Parkinson, Leston Gonzales; Roget Boucher and Gareth Wiseman were charged with the crime.
Griffith, Deon Peters and David Ector were charged under the Anti-Gang Act for being members of a gang, while Griffith was charged with assisting the gang.
The gang charges were initially dismissed based on the fact that they were laid indictably (heard and determined by a High Court Judge and jury), as opposed to summarily (heard and determined by a magistrate), as required for first-time offenders under the legislation.
The issue resulted in Peters and Ector being freed. Griffith remained before the court as she was slapped with the additional charge that was properly laid but eventually discontinued yesterday.
The Court of Appeal eventually reversed Cedeno’s decision and effectively reinstated the charges.
As Ector was murdered in July 2018, only Peters was rearrested and recharged with the offence.
The reinstated charges are now set to go before Magistrate Sarah De Silva, with the first hearing set for July 14.
Stephan Cummings was initially charged for the murder but in December 2017, he was made a State witness after he agreed to testify against his former friends. The charge was discontinued against him and he was instead charged with conspiring to murder Seetahal.
The inquiry has reached an advance stage with the State already closing its case and the State responding to no case submissions made by the accused persons.
The accused persons are being represented by Mario Merritt, Randall Raphael, Karunaa Bisramsingh, and Roshan Tota-Maharaj.