A High Court Judge has deferred her decision on aborting the trial of a 28-year-old man from south Oropouche, charged with robbing and wounding a neighbour, who he claimed attempted to molest him.
During a virtual hearing, yesterday morning, Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds was expected to make a decision on the future of Roger Ragoopath’s robbery with violence case based on the fact that his alleged accomplice was arrested by police, last week.
Ramsumair-Hinds and prosecutor Maria Lyons-Edwards indicated that they did not see any issue with the State reopening its case, which is already at an advanced stage, to include the alleged accomplice.
“Although it sounds messy, it is not impossible because factually it is simple,” Ramsumair-Hinds said.
Ragoopath’s attorney Renuka Rambhajan disagreed as she suggested that the judge-alone trial be aborted.
Rambhajan pointed out that when the co-accused is brought to court, next week, he may choose to have a jury trial or apply to have the joint-charge severed and tried separately.
While she admitted that her client would not be prejudiced as his trial had reached an advanced stage, Rambhajan noted that it would take time for the accomplice to consider what had transpired in the case thus far and determine how he would mount his defence.
“If this was a jury trial the decision would be very clear,” Rambhajan said, as she noted that her client wanted a separate trial.
After hearing the submissions, Ramsumair-Hinds chose to adjourn the case to next Wednesday to give the accomplice an opportunity to appear before her and indicate his position on the issue.
Ragoopath and his accomplice are accused of robbing Ramesh Mungroo with violence on September 2, 2007.
Mungroo was allegedly walking near his home when he was attacked, slashed with a knife, and robbed of $80 and two cellphones.
Mungroo survived and identified his attackers, but died in unrelated circumstances before the case went to trial.
Mungroo’s evidence given during the preliminary inquiry in the case was used in the trial.
The State is mainly relying on a statement, which Ragoopath alleged gave police when confronted over the incident in his mother’s presence.