A jilted husband and his friend, who allegedly solicited and contracted a hitman to murder his ex-wife and her new lover, a little over 13 years ago, will face a retrial.
While Appellate Judges Alice Yorke-Soo Hon, Mark Mohammed, and Prakash Moosai upheld Basdeo “Bas” Ramlochan and Siewkumar “Bobby” Chanka-Persad’s appeal and quashed their convictions, last week, they only decided on what should transpire in the duo’s case, on Tuesday.
Ramlochan’s estranged wife Sunita “Michelle” Ramlochan, 29, and her common-law husband Rahim “Bam” Abraham were murdered at her father’s home at Kuldip Trace, St John’s Village, Avocat, on October 15, 2006.
The couple and Sunita’s 11-year-old daughter, who is Ramlogan’s child, had just returned home from a visit to the Divali Nagar site when they were attacked and shot several times.
The state’s case was not that Ramlochan and Chanka-Persad pulled the trigger, but that they sought out and hired hitmen, who did.
In addition to alleged statements from Ramlochan and Chanka-Persad, state prosecutors also led evidence from a security guard who claimed that Ramlochan approached him on six occasions between 2004 and 2006, to help him find someone, to carry out the murders.
Another state witness claimed that Ramlochan told him that he had marital problems and that he paid a hitman $90,000 to kill her but he did not perform the task.
He also claimed that Ramlochan also claimed that he had been introduced to another hitman and showed him the $30,000 he was going to use to pay him.
In its judgement in the appeal, the judges ruled that the judge, who presided over the duo’s trial, made multiple errors in “all four corners” of the case, which made their convictions unsafe.
They ruled that when the judge summed up the legal issues in the case to the jury that eventually convicted the men, he failed to properly advise them on the duo’s previous good character and on how to properly analyse the evidence of the contentious witnesses.
The men were represented by Jagdeo Singh, Rekha Ramjit and Renuka Rambhajan. Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, SC, and Travers Sinanan represented the State.