…charged, remanded for murder of Corentyne carpenter
HOURS after being extradited from the United States, murder accused Marcus ‘Brian’ Bisram appeared before Magistrate Renita Singh at the Whim’s Magistrate’s Court in East Berbice, Corentyne to answer to the charge of murder.
He is accused of killing 26-year-old carpenter, Faiyaz Narinedatt, some three years ago.
Neatly dressed in a blue suit, Bisram, backed by his team of high-profile lawyers, appeared comfortable in the packed courtroom as the charge was read to him by the magistrate. He was not required to plead to the indictable offence and was remanded until the 2nd December, 2019, at the Camp Street Prison. Attorneys-at-law Sanjeev Datadin and Dexter Todd questioned why their client will be kept at Camp Street, Georgetown, instead of New Amsterdam. They were told by Stacy Gooding, the state prosecutor that the Director of Prisons, Gladwyn Samuels, made the request for their client’s safety.
Further, the defence team questioned why their client was hastily brought to the Whim Magistrate’s Court instead of the Springlands Magistrate’s Court which, according to the defence, is the jurisdiction for the matter. The State prosecutor explained that she is not the person to decide the location of the matter and could not provide an answer at that time. The magistrate then ordered the prosecutor to get the details and make them known to the court on the 2nd December, 2019, for the second appearance.
Earlier in the day, Bisram made a stop at the Criminal Investigations Department headquarters, Eve Leary, where he was processed before being escorted by ranks of the Major Crimes Unit to Corentyne. As he made his way through the courtyard under heavy guard, he smiled and waved at his mother and other relatives and ignored the strong stares of the parents and relatives of the murdered carpenter.
Speaking with this newspaper after the court proceedings, Bibi Shakira Azeez, mother of Narinedatt, expressed gratitude to the Guyana Police Force and other authorities including President David Granger, for getting Bisram back to Guyana to stand trial for the murder of her only child. “I am satisfied that he is here because he tried hard not to come back, but God is good and now he understands that money is not power. It will not bring my son back, but he must face the consequences of his actions. Justice will be served, by the grace of God, and they will know how I have been grieving all along for my son.”
She noted her son’s life was taken away at an age when he was blossoming in life, when he had just started a family and had two babies, but all that was taken away from him in a flash.
Bisram arrived days after the family of Narinedatt observed his third death anniversary. He was killed on November 01, 2016. Narinedatt’s body was found around 03:30hrs on Tuesday, November 01, 2016, on the Number 70 Public Road, East Corentyne, Berbice. His death was initially reported as a suspected hit-and-run accident. It was later reported that Bisram made sexual advances to Narinedatt who objected to the latter’s advances.
Bisram, who holds dual citizenship, became a person of interest to the police after they began investigating the death of the carpenter. He is accused of ordering the fatal beating of Narinedatt, a young father of two. In July 2019, Bisram lost his appeal against an order of extradition made by a district court in New York. The court in New York had upheld that the US had signed an extradition treaty with the UK on December 22, 1931. The treaty remained in effect even after Guyana obtained its Independence.
Bisram was initially charged here in absentia, while five others: Orlando Dickie, Radesh Motie, Diodath Datt, Harri Paul Parsram, and Niran Yacoob have also been committed to stand trial for the murder of Faiyaz Narinedatt. On February 14, 2017, following an investigation into Narinedatt’s death, Guyana submitted a formal request to the US Department of State for Bisram’s extradition to face a charge of murder, after he had fled to the US.
However, on October 12, 2017, a judge in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, issued a Certificate of Extraditability, certifying to the Secretary of State that there was probable cause to believe that Bisram committed the murder and authorising the secretary’s extradition of Bisram to Guyana.
But, on November 17, 2017, Bisram’s attorney filed a petition of habeas corpus in the US District Court for the Eastern District of New York, challenging the Certificate of Extraditability.
On October 31, 2018, following several extensions, the district court denied the petition, concurring with the judge’s determination that there was “reasonable ground” to believe that Bisram committed the murder as charged. Bisram, through his attorneys, appealed the district court’s denial of his habeas corpus petition on the grounds that the evidence presented to the extradition court failed to establish a reasonable ground to believe that Bisram committed the murder, especially in light of a witness subsequent alleged recantation of his original statement to police and that Bisram received constitutionally ineffective assistance of counsel during the extradition and habeas corpus proceedings.
However, the US court differed: “We agree with all three reasons the district court gave for declining to issue a writ of habeas corpus to Bisram on the basis of (a witness’) alleged recantation. At a minimum, we cannot say that the district court erred in concluding that the evidence submitted by Guyana surpassed the minimal threshold of ‘any evidence warranting the finding that there was a reasonable ground to believe the accused guilty”.
It added: “We have considered all of Bisram’s remaining arguments and find them to be without merit. Accordingly, we affirm the judgment of the district court”.
Family members of Bisram gathered in their numbers on Thursday at the packed courtroom. His mother, Sharmilla Inderjeet, was seen hugging and kissing him while he made his way down the stairs from the courtroom, as other relatives looked on and waved at him. Prior to him entering the courtroom, he was seen waving and smiling as he made his way past onlookers. The family of Narinedatt vowed to see the matter to the end.