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Judge says he can’t reopen murder case

Monday, January 21, 2013

Justice Malcolm Holdip has ruled that he does not have the jurisdiction to reopen the case of a man accused of murdering a Chaguanas businessman, even though last month he discharged another man accused of the crime. During a hearing in the Port-of-Spain High Court last month, Holdip granted a permanent stay of the charge against 46-year-old Anthony Amogan of Frederick Settlement, Caroni.


However, Holdip rejected a similar application by Amogan’s co-accused Michael Ramdawar on Friday. Both men were charged with murdering central businessman Ramcoomar Ramoutar at Carlsen Field on February 22, 1997. They were accused of robbing Ramoutar at his home at Edinburgh Village, Chaguanas, and kidnapping him.


According to the State’s case at their first trial before Justice Prakash Moosai in 2003, the accused restrained Ramoutar, then shot him in the kneecaps. Ramoutar bled to death. At the conclusion of that trial, they were found guilty and sentenced to hang. The Court of Appeal quashed their convictions and sentences on December 15, 2006 and ordered a retrial.


During the hearing last week Holdip agreed with state attorneys who submitted that he did not have the power to reopen the case, even though an error may have been made. The attorneys suggested that Ramdawar’s attorneys apply to another judge, who may consider the case and reverse the decision. 


In their application for the permanent stay, the two men’s attorneys submitted it would be an abuse of process for them to go on trial so long after the crime was committed. Both men were represented by Mario Merritt and Daniel Khan. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Kathy Ann Waterman-Latchoo appeared for the State. 


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