October assizes get underway

The October Assizes of the Criminal High Court officially opened on Tuesday with a total of 167 cases listed for adjudication, an increase of 31 cases compared to the May assizes, which had 136 cases.

Sexual offences continue to dominate the cause list, with 62 of the matters listed for trial ranging from incest, sexual assault, rape, defilement of a female, indecent assault and harbouring, among others.

However, the 62 cases of a sexual nature in the October Assizes represent a decrease by one compared to the 63 that were listed in the May assizes.

Rape cases have been attracting a very high level of public concern.

And one case of major public interest involves a former Vice-Principal of a primary school in the south of the island, Devon Francique who is accused of raping a seven-year-old male student of his own school in March 2014.

Other matters of a sexual nature involve Handell Stafford, who is facing two counts of Rape and one count of indecent assault, as well as Desmond Roberts (two counts of Incest), Clinton Williams (one count of Rape), Glenroy Barry (one count of Unlawful Carnal Knowledge and two counts of sexual intercourse).
Mt. Tranquil resident Jamalie Campbell is facing six counts of sexual intercourse and three counts of habouring, while Kimon Ramdeen is facing four counts of sexual intercourse.

The assizes list also comprises a total of 13 Non-Capital Murder cases and 5 cases of Manslaughter.
One matter down for sentencing in the October Assizes, which went through the trial stage during the May Assizes, involves 62-year-old Albert Alexis, who was found guilty of Non-Capital murder in the May 2015 stabbing death of 31-year-old Alston Henry of Mt. Pleasance in St. Andrew.

Other Non-Capital Murder on the October Assizes list involves Dave Benjamin for the January 2016 death of United States Citizen, Jessica Colker, and Akim Frank for the December 2015 death of Canadian professor at St. George’s University, Linnea Veinotte.

Mardi Gras resident Demlyn Murray will also make an appearance in the assizes for the March 2016 death of his 15-year-old niece-in-law, Britney Baptiste.

The assizes list comprises other matters ranging from stealing by reason of employment, defrauding, robbery with violence, arson, assault, possession and trafficking of a controlled drug, possession of firearm and ammunition, grievous and dangerous harm, death by dangerous driving, kidnapping, and arson, among others.

The opening ceremony was presided over by Guyanese-born female Judge, Madam Justice Paula Gilford at the No. 2 High Court in St. George’s.

Matters on the cause list in the September Assizes would be dispensed between Justice Gilford and Trinidadian-born Judge, Justice Shiraf Aziz who presides over the No. 5 High Court in St. George’s.

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