The State has made a “boo boo” in the case again ten men charged with the murder of Senior Counsel, Dana Seetahal.
The State filed an appeal out of time.
The latest mistake occurred in the State’s appeal over a decision by Senior Magistrate Indrani Cedeno to dismiss gang charges against the group and two of their acquaintances in 2016, due to an administrative error by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
Hours before the appeal was due to be heard on Thursday, special prosecutor, Travers Sinanan, and Assistant DPP, Angelica Teelucksingh-Ramoutar, informed the court’s registry that their office had filed the notice of appeal late.
While it had 14 days to appeal Cedeno’s ruling, given on May 27, 2016, it filed the appeal on June 13, 2016.
During Thursday’s hearing, Sinanan and Teelucksingh-Ramoutar applied to have the appeal withdrawn, but were given a lifeline as Justices Alice Yorke-Soo Hon and Rajendra Narine suggested they file an application to have the deadline extended retroactively.
Seetahal was shot dead in her SUV while driving along Hamilton Holder Street, Woodbrook, on May 4, 2014.
Rajaee Ali, his brothers Ishmael and Hamid Ali; Devaughn Cummings, Ricardo Stewart, Earl Richards, Stephan Cummings, Kevin Parkinson, Leston Gonzales; Roger Boucher and Gareth Wiseman were initially charged with the crime. They, along with Rajaee’s wife Stacy Griffith, Deon Peters and David Ector, were also charged under the Anti-Gang Act for being members of a gang.
In 2016, the DDP’s Office applied to amend the gang charges due to an administrative error made when they were laid on the group.
The DPP’s Office had admitted to filing the charges indictably as opposed to summarily as prescribed by the legislation. Cedeno dismissed the charges as she ruled the time for making the amendment had expired.
Peters and Ector were set free, while Griffith remained in custody on an unrelated gang offence that was not affected by the blunder.
In December last year, the murder charge was discontinued against Stephan Cummings, who was instead charged with conspiring to murder Seetahal. Ector was murdered last week.