A man from Mayaro, who was sentenced to hang after being found guilty of murdering his ex-girlfriend and her 18-month old son in 2005, will have to wait to learn the fate of his appeal against his conviction.
Appellate Judges Alice Yorke- Soo Hon, Mark Mohammed and Maria Wilson reserved their judgment in Anand Baboolal’s appeal after hearing submissions from his attorneys and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) during a virtual hearing on Tuesday.
In 2016, Baboolal was convicted of murdering 26-year-old Ria Ramlochan and her son Timothy Ragbir in August 2005.
Ramlochan was found in the latrine at her Solomon Avenue, Mayaro, home. She had been stabbed three times in her chest and abdomen.
Her son’s body was found wrapped in a fishing net in the Mafeking River. An autopsy revealed that he had over a dozen stab wounds and cuts on his body. His pubic area was also found mutilated.
During his trial, prosecutors presented a confession statement, which they claimed Baboolal gave days after his arrest.
In the statement, Baboolal allegedly told police that on the day of the incident he visited Ramlochan’s home and they had an argument.
He claimed that she headed towards him with a knife and he attempted to disarm her.
He also allegedly said that they fell on the bed where her son was lying and that he accidentally stabbed her while they were wrestling for the weapon.
Baboolal claimed that he blacked out upon seeing the large quantity of blood and only remembered waking up in his brother’s home the following morning.
Although Baboolal did not testify at the trial, his attorneys contended that the statement was fabricated and Baboolal was coerced by investigators to sign it.
In the appeal, Baboolal’s lawyers are claiming that the trial judge made errors in advising the jury on how to consider the statement and notes from two previous interviews, in which Baboolal denied any wrongdoing and claimed that he was by his father’s home at the time of the incident.
“There was no independent evidence before the jury in the instant appeal which could be used to show the Appellant was in fact lying and rhat this lie was deliberate and a motive to deliberately mislead and hide his guilt,” attorney Daniel Khan said, as he noted that the statement was the State’s main evidence linking him to the heinous crime.
Khan also challenged the judge’s decision to allow the statement to be presented to the jury but chose to forgo the ground after considering a transcript of judge’s decision, which was not available when the appeal was first filed.
Khan also submitted that the judge failed to properly advise the jury to consider whether Baboolal had the defence of provocation.
Earlier in the hearing, Assistant DPP George Busby requested an adjournment as the case was largely based on notes taken by Boboolal’s defence attorney at the trial.
Busby said that the transcript was more reliable and should be considered before submissions were presented.
After the appeal panel stood down the case, Khan considered the transcript and withdrew several grounds of appeal.
Ula Nathai-Lutchman appeared alongside Khan for Baboolal in the appeal.
The judgment in the case is expected to be delivered by the Appeal Court on a date to be announced.