A High Court judge is considering aborting the trial of a 28-year-old man from South Oropouche accused of wounding a neighbour during an alleged robbery over a decade ago after his alleged accomplice was arrested by police, last week.
Roger Ragoopath was expected to be cross-examined by prosecutors from the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) when his virtual judge-alone trial resumed before Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds, on Monday morning.
However, when the case was called, Ramsumair-Hinds raised the issue of an application from the DPP’s Office to reopen the State’s case to include Ragoopath’s accomplice, who was arrested on an outstanding warrant, last Thursday.
Ramsumair-Hinds said that she was shocked by the development as well as the failure of the DPP’s Office to inform Ragoopath’s attorneys well before the hearing.
Prosecutor Maria Lyons-Edwards suggested that her office thought that Ramsumair-Hinds would have informed defence attorneys of what transpired.
“I am once again disappointed with the conduct of the prosecution. I have no business in the execution of warrants,” Ramsumair-Hinds said.
Before adjourning the case to Thursday, Ramsumair-Hinds requested that Ragoopath’s lawyer Renuka Rambhajan file submissions on if or how the case should proceed.
Ramsumair-Hinds noted that she could abort the case, uphold the State’s application or sever the charges so Ragoopath and his co-accused’s cases could take place separately.
The latter option would allow the trial to be completed before Ramsumair-Hinds.
Ragoopath and his accomplice are accused of robbing Ramesh Mungroo with violence on September 2, 2007.
Mungroo was allegedly walking near his home when he was attacked, slashed with a knife and robbed of $80 and two cellphones.
Mungroo survived and identified his attackers, but died in unrelated circumstances before the case went to trial.
His evidence given during the preliminary inquiry in the case was used in the trial.
The State is mainly relying on a statement, which Ragoopath alleged gave police when confronted over the incident in his mother’s presence.
“I really had a knife on me. Me and (name withheld) went to teach Ramesh a lesson. He like to touch boys. He get he throat cut and we run,” Ragoopath allegedly said.
Ragoopath did not deny making the statement when he elected to testify in his defence, last week.
Ragoopath, who was 15-years-old at the time, claimed that hours before the incident, Mungroo attempted to molest him in a play park in the community.
Ragoopath said he told his friend and they agreed to confront Mungroo.
He admitted that his friend and Mungroo had a scuffle and claimed that he ran away when he noticed that Mungroo was bleeding from a wound to his neck. Ragoopath also denied robbing Mungroo.
In the trial, Ragoopath’s lawyers have been running a “cut-throat” defence by focusing on why her client’s alleged accomplice, who was wanted by police for over a decade, was not prosecuted.