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Judicial CP - October 1998

Trinidad Express, Port of Spain, 10 October 1998

Robber gets 66 years jail

A LABOURER who the Appeal Court said "tried to beat the system" is now serving a total of 66 years in prison.

Court of Appeal Justices Sat Sharma, Mustapha Ibrahim, and Zainool Hosein affirmed the conviction and sentence of 25-year-old Andre Sampson yesterday.

Sampson was found guilty on July 11, 1990 of two counts of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm.

He robbed Harry Mathieu on September 27, 1987 of $340 at a supermarket in Port of Spain.

He was jailed by Justice Lennox Deyalsingh for 13 years on July 27, 1990, for the offences.

Sampson appealed both the conviction and sentence.

He had also pleaded guilty on August 8 to charges of robbery (two counts), wounding with intent, house-breaking and larceny, robbery with violence, robbery with aggravation and attempted robbery.

He was jailed for 14 years on the first charge, five years on the second, seven years on the third, ten years and ten strokes on the fourth, another ten years and ten strokes on the fifth and seven years on the sixth.

All the sentences were to run concurrently. But yesterday the Appeal Court ordered that the sentences imposed for the robbery with violence and robbery with aggravation crimes follow all the other sentences.

So in fact after Sampson has served 14 years in prison, he will now have to serve another 20 years.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Anthony Carmona presented the State's case while attorney Penelope Beckles appeared on Sampson's behalf.

Corpun file 8319

Trinidad Express, Port of Spain, 16 October 1998

Appeal Court adds 15 strokes to life term

By Darren Bahaw

THE Court of Appeal yesterday added licks -- 15 strokes -- to a life sentence against a Tobago man who was found guilty of attempting to murder his former lover because she had rejected him.

President of the court, Justice Sat Sharma, in affirming the conviction against Marcelle "Pain" Skeete, said that this case was a classic example of domestic violence.

He said the court would be acting irresponsibly if it did not take notice of the increase of domestic violence cases, which has now reached epidemic proportions, in the country.

Justice Sharma said everyday in the newspapers and in the courts there were reports of domestic violence.

"Here is a woman who has terminated her relationship with her lover and the lover aggrieved by that inflicts 25 injuries. It is not to say he was suffering from any mental disability. It is a clear case of revenge," he said.

In addition to the jail term the court confirmed on Skeete, 33, formerly of Bon Accord, Canaan, Tobago he will now receive 15 strokes with the birch.

Senior State attorney Roger Gaspard agreed that this case was one "fit and proper for the imposition of corporal punishment".

Attorney Christlyn Moore conceded that she could find no grounds to argue before the court.

Skeete was found guilty of chopping Sherri Ann Hector some 25 times and medical experts revealed that at least 20 of the injuries could have been fatal.

Justice Lennox Deyalsingh had imposed the life sentence on Skeete -- with the condition that the prisoner not be released for 20 years -- on June 7, 1995.

He was found guilty of attempting to murder Hector during an attack at her home on June 20, 1990.

In giving the court's decision, Justice Sharma said it was an act of providence which intervened to have the victim alive today.

He said the "barbarous and heinous attack" had left Hector blind in the left eye and suffering from several complications including cramps in both hands, nose-bleeds and a swollen right foot.

Justice Sharma said from the State's case it was clear that Skeete intended to murder Hector "in a most brutal way," and then drink poison so that he would not face the court for the crime.

The judge also noted that it was becoming prevalent before the Appeal Court where accused people found guilty are filing affidavits claiming that they were not properly represented at their trial.

Skeete had claimed that his trial attorney was guilty of impropriety. However, Justice Sharma said only in the most rare and exceptional cases would the court order a retrial if it could be proven that counsel for an accused person failed in their duty.

He said such allegations were considered "most serious" by the court and they would not be tolerating frivolous claims by persons grasping at straws to save themselves.

On the night of the attack Hector was awakened by a knock on her bedroom door. She recognised it was Skeete when he answered.

Hector had an intimate relationship with Skeete two years before and bore a child for him. As she opened the bedroom door to alert the other persons in the house she saw Skeete standing about four feet away.

He told he knew he would get even with her and chopped her several times, to her hands, neck, back, shoulder and feet. The woman managed to run to the gallery and screamed for help. Her sister lived a short distance away.

Skeete, however, pulled her to the floor and dealt her several more chops saying "if I can't get you, no one else will be able to have you."

He also threatened to kill anyone who came to her assistance and then drink poison.

Trinidad Express, Port of Spain, 29 October 1998

Judge describes prisoner's flogging as 'monstrous'

By Joel Nanton

AN Appeal Court judge yesterday described as "monstrous" the fact that a prisoner received 15 strokes with the birch while his appeal was pending.

"This is monstrous thing that has happened in this country. They beat you when they had no right to do so," Justice Sat Sharma told Edward Boucher, who had been convicted of robbery with aggravation.

Sharma said it was an error which the Court of Appeal "will not take lightly" and he directed the clerk of the Court, which also comprised Justices Zainool Hosein and Jean Permanand, to write the Minister of National Security on the matter.

He said the State had absolutely no justification for flogging Boucher before his appeal was heard, adding that he hoped National Security Minister Joseph Theodore would launch an investigation into the incident.

"What will happen next? They will beat the wrong man. The only error left for the prison authorities to do is to leave the prison doors open," said Sharma.

Boucher was convicted on December 1, 1992, for robbing Agua Bobb, a supermarket manageress, of $120 on June 24, 1988.

Bobb and others were in the supermarket in south Trinidad when Boucher and two others entered and announced a hold-up.

Boucher pulled a gun from his waist and took the money from Bobb's handbag.

He was charged with three counts of robbery with aggravation and was sentenced to 12 years and 15 strokes by Justice Lennox Deyalsingh on December 7, 1992.

State attorney Joseph Pantor told the Court of Appeal that Boucher received the strokes at 8.12 a.m. on August 26.

He initially appeared unrepresented yesterday but the Appeal Court appointed attorney Israel Khan who was sitting in the court as his counsel.

Sharma said despite the injustice Boucher had suffered, the offences he was convicted for were quite serious.

The Court dismissed his appeal and ordered that his sentence run from December 1, 1994.

"No flogging is to take place," Sharma ordered.

Corpun file 8325

Trinidad Express, Port of Spain, 30 October 1998

Rapist gets 15 years and 15 strokes

By Fulton Wilson

PRAKASH Maharaj, who participated in the gang rape of a 40-year-old woman in broad daylight in 1988, has been jailed for 15 years and ordered to receive 15 strokes with the birch.

In passing the sentence in the Port of Spain Second Criminal court yesterday, Justice Stanley John said rape was the worst kind of domestic violence. He said if the victim did not have the presence of mind to take note of the number plate of her attackers' vehicle, the crime might never have been solved.

The court heard that around 12 noon on August 28, 1988, the woman was looking for a job on Jogie Road, San Juan, and met Paul Boodoo at the corner of Jogie and Don Miguel Road. She had known Boodoo before that day.

Boodoo was with Maharaj, of Manraj Trace, El Socorro Extension, and another man. He (Boodoo) offered to drop her off in a vehicle but before doing so the three men went into a nearby shop and left the woman in the car.

She decided to get out of the car but, when she did so, Maharaj asked her where she was going and he called Boodoo and the other man and they forced her back into the back seat.

Boodoo then drove the car to Fifth Street. Realising that they were not driving towards her destination, the woman asked the men to get out of the car but they refused and Boodoo drove the car towards Port of Spain.

On reaching the Port of Spain wharf, they threatened to kill her if she did not have sex with them. The unidentified man who was in the back with her pushed her head to the car seat and sat on it.

The victim said she began to stifle and urinated on herself. The man allowed her to get up then asked her if she promised to have sex with all of them. She agreed and pleaded for her life.

She was then taken to a sewer trace in St Clair where Maharaj and Boodoo raped her. When the third man was about to rape her, he told her that she was trembling so much that he would spare her. But he then forced her to perform oral sex on Maharaj and Boodoo.

They then took her back to Aranjuez and dropped her off. As they drove off, she took note of the number plate and made a report to the San Juan Police.

The following day Const Kurt Marcano checked the number at the Licensing Office and arrested Boodoo on September 17, 1988. Maharaj was arrested at his home the next day.

Boodoo died a month ago from heart failure while the unknown man remains at large.

Avason Quinlan prosecuted while Gregory Osawke represented Maharaj.

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