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Killer released but remains at St Ann’s
A 48-year-old schizophrenic man, who admitted to killing a man in 1999, has been granted conditional release from the St Ann’s Psychiatric Hospital. Three Appeal Court judges granted Dugnath Ramkelawan the conditional release during a periodic sentence review at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain yesterday.
The Court of Appeal panel consisted of judges Paula Mae Weekes, Rajendra Narine and Alice Yorke-Soo Hon. Ramkelawan, of Mafeking Village, Mayaro, who was described in a probation officer’s report as a “model inmate,” was released on the condition that he continues to live at the hospital.
The judges agreed with the submissions of the State’s attorney, Dana Seetahal, SC, who said it was within the court’s powers to release Ramkelawan on licence. In his statements to the court, Ramkelawan said he was happy at the hospital and wished to remain as a permanent resident, because if he were released he would be homeless.
Officials at the hospital said they were happy with Ramkelawan’s progress during his stay there. They said they were willing to allow him to stay longer and he had even been offered a job. Ramkelawan helps in the wards with the inmates and he is compliant with hospital rules and regulations, the report said.
Ramkelawan was accused of murdering Jagjeewan Lall on July 27, 1999. He pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter in 2003 and was sentenced to imprisonment at the court’s pleasure with periodical sentence reviews.
He was diagnosed with schizophrenia—a mental disorder characterised by delusions—by psychiatrist Dr Iqbal Ghany in November 2002. Ramkelawan was first admitted to the hospital when he was 18 and returned on five separate occasions between 1982 and 2000. He was represented by Kevin Ratiram.
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