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January Criminal Assizes closes

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This country’s prison population now stands at 399.

This was the number reported at the closing of the Criminal Assizes on Monday March 30, 2009, by Chief Prison Officer Brenton Charles.{{more}}

60 matters had been listed to be dealt with at the assizes, and of these, 21 were dealt with. At the conclusion of the previous assizes, the prison count stood at 402. Of these, 128 males had been sentenced by the High Court; the Magistrates’ Courts sentenced 177 males. There are 305 male penal prisoners and 82 others on remand. Sixteen non-nationals are currently awaiting trial, while Shorn Samuel and Daniel “Dick” Trimmingham are the only two men on death row.

Five females were sentenced by the High Court, while the Magistrates’ Courts sentenced only two. One female is awaiting sentencing for manslaughter.

Only two murder trials were completed at this Assizes, with 13 others being traversed to the next assizes commencing on May 5, 2009. Four persons: Luke Williams, Anderson Williams, Webster Woodley and Sheldon Bain are awaiting sentences for murder charges. Three murder matters are also down for re-trial. These persons include: Police Officer Ericsson Harris, Patrick Lovelace and Jamal Dyer. Two Nigerians are also awaiting deportation.

Director of Public Prosecutions Colin Williams, attorneys Joezel Jack and Carl Williams handled the cases for the crown during the assizes.

Chief Prison Officer Brenton Charles told Searchlight that the prison authorities have not been experiencing many problems with the prisoners. He stated that the main problem is overcrowding. “That is basically the only problem we face here and the less persons we have here means less problems for us,” Charles stated.

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