…June session to commence with 301 casesThe April 2019 Criminal Assizes in Demerara came to an end last Thursday with the Gaol Delivery being done by Justice Navindra Singh at the Supreme Court in Georgetown.This session began on April 2, with Justices Singh, Roxane George, James Bovell-Drakes and Brassington Reynold presiding. During this session of the Assizes, a total of 259 cases were listed to be heard and a mere 29 were disposed of during the two-month period.Of these 29 matters, only 25 were heard in the High Court, while four were nolle prosequi (not prosecuted) by the Chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP). The cases that engaged the court’s attention resulted in 10 guilty pleas, six convictions, three not guilty verdicts and four formal verdicts of not guilty.Justice Singh heard and completed 13 murder cases and two manslaughter cases that were presented by State Counsels Tuanna Hardy, Abigail Glbbs and Teriq Mohammed and Sarah Martin.Of the 13 murder cases, nine of the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter. Three of these accused were each sentenced to 12 years imprisonment, another two to 14 years each and the others were respectively sentenced to 15 years; 10 years; nine years; and 16 years, 8 months.In another three murder cases, the accused were all found guilty by jury verdicts. In one of these cases, there were two accused – one of whom was sentenced to 65 years imprisonment, while his co-accused was found guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. In the other two cases, one accused was sentenced to 75 years imprisonment while the other accused is awaiting sentencing.The other murder case saw the trial Judge upholding a no-case submission and directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty. The same was done in one of the two trials for the offence of manslaughter. In the other case, the jury returned a guilty verdict for the accused, who is awaiting sentencing.Additionally, eight matters were presented by State Counsels Lisa Cave, Seeta Bishundial and Sarah Martin before Justice Brassington Reynolds in the Sexual Offences Court. In one of these cases, the accused was found guilty by the jury on all four counts he was indicted with and was sentenced to 29 years imprisonment. In the other three cases, the accused were acquitted by the jury; while in the two remaining trials, the trial Judge directed the juries to return formal verdicts of not guilty. Justice Reynolds upheld a no-case submission in one case while in the other, the Virtual Complainant (VC) testified she did not wish to proceed with the evidence. Two other matters are in progress before Justice ReynoldsOn the other hand, Justice James Bovell-Drakes completed two murder cases presented by State Counsels Tiffini Lyken and Sarah Martin. In one case, the jury returned a unanimous verdict of guilty for the accused who was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment; while the other accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and will be sentenced on June 3.Meanwhile, the four matters nolle prosequi by the DPP were for sexual offences in which the VCs submitted written statements they did not wish to proceed with their mattens.In Berbice, the February Criminal Assizes was in progress with Justice Reynolds first presiding, before Justice Franklin Holder took over the session, which commenced on February 3. A total 61 cases have been listed to be heard during this Assizes, which will continue on June 15.Of this, 17 cases received the attention of the court during the past four months (February to May).The Demerara June 2019 Criminal Assizes will commence on Tuesday, June 4, with Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall, Justice Reynolds and Justice Bovell-Drakes presiding over the session.A total of 301 cases have been listed to be heard.