BIBI Shareema Gopaul, who is currently serving a 45-year jail sentence for the 2010 murder of her 16-year-old daughter, has now moved to the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to appeal her conviction and sentence.
In 2015, Gopaul and her ex-lover Jarvis ‘Barry’ Small, were found guilty of murdering Neesa Gopaul, by a jury at the Georgetown High Court. They were later sentenced by Justice Navindra Singh to 106 years and 96 years, respectively.
The pair subsequently filed an appeal at the Court of Appeal challenging their conviction and sentence but were only successful in getting their respective sentences reduced.
The appeal was filed by attorney-at-law Nigel Hughes and Associates on behalf of Small, while Gopaul was represented by attorney-at-Law Arud Gossai.
The attorneys had asked the court to reverse and/or set aside the convictions. They also argued that the sentences were too severe, given the circumstances of the case. The attorneys also argued that the trial was unfair, and that the judge erred in law.
However, in September 2021, the Court of Appeal upheld the conviction, but commuted the duo’s initial 202-year sentence to 45 years.
Dissatisfied, Gopaul has now moved to the CCJ seeking to overturn the Court of Appeal’s decision. Recently, the CCJ granted Gopaul’s attorney special leave to file the application.
Prior to the murder, Small and Bibi were in a relationship, and, at one time, Small had even lived with Gopaul at Leonora, West Coast Demerara, along with her two daughters, the eldest being Neesa.
Neesa’s body was found submerged in a suitcase in the Madewini Creek in the vicinity of the Emerald Towers Resort on October 2, 2010, at about 14:00hrs, and at the time was believed to be headless.
A post mortem examination later revealed that the body was not headless but was, instead, clobbered beyond recognition.
Dumbbells similar to those found in a gym owned by Small were found tied to the suitcase in which the body was found.
In addition to the body, a passport bearing the name Neesa Lalita Gopaul was also found. The teenager was reported missing just days before the gruesome discovery was made.
Subsequent to the discovery of the body, Bibi and Small were arrested and were later charged for the crime.