A woman, her mother, and a family friend, who admitted to conspiring together to murder her abusive partner in 2006, are expected to be released from prison in almost a year.
Kareen Ramlal, 41, her 67-year-old mother Ramdaye, and their friend Gewan Pardassie, 56, pleaded guilty to felony murder, earlier this year, but only received their sentences from Justice Hayden St Clair-Douglas during a virtual hearing, yesterday morning.
St Clair-Douglas started with a 24-year sentence but after applying the one-third discount afforded to accused persons, who plead guilty to crimes, and deducting the time they spent on remand before they were sentenced, each was left with a one-year and two-month prison sentence.
As years in prison are calculated at nine calendar months based on the disciplinary record of prisoners, the trio may be released in under a year.
During the hearing, St Clair-Douglas initially considered individual sentences for each based on their involvement in the case but decided against it after an in-depth analysis of the evidence.
The trio was charged with murdering 30-year-old Anil Jadoo at his home at Deokiesingh Street, St Augustine, in May 2006.
After Jadoo’s body was found by police, an autopsy revealed that he died of severe injuries to his head. However, a methomyl-based pesticide was found in his bloodstream.
When confronted by police, the trio admitted to their roles in the crime.
Ramlal and her mother allegedly planned to have Jadoo killed after he physically assaulted her during a domestic argument, earlier that year.
The mother and daughter enlisted Pardassie, who was also Jadoo’s friend for several years and agreed to pay him $800 for his assistance.
Ramlal’s mother allegedly cooked a meal of stewed goat and rice and poisoned Jadoo’s portion with Lannate pesticide.
Pardassie was given the tainted meal to deliver to Jadoo.
He later told police that Jadoo ate some of the food but refused to finish the meal as he did not like how it tasted.
Pardassie allegedly told police that he waited until Jadoo went to sleep and then hit him several times with a piece of wood he found in the yard.
He disposed of the improvised weapon and went to the Ramlal’s home to tell them what transpired.
The trio was initially charged with Jadoo’s murder but they were allowed to plead guilty to felony murder.
Under the felony murder rule, the mandatory death penalty for murder is sometimes waived in circumstances where the victim died during the commission of a lesser criminal offence.
In assessing the appropriate sentences for the trio, St Clair-Douglas ruled that although Pardassie delivered the fatal blows, the Ramlals were equally responsible as they had agreed that Jadoo should be killed by any means necessary if he refused to finish the tainted meal.
St Clair-Douglas noted that when interrogated by police, the Ramlals attempted to downplay their involvement and implicate Pardassie.
“I form the view they are equally responsible and liable for the manner in which the accused died…This was a planned and premeditated killing,” St Clair-Douglas said as he began with a starting point of 24 years in prison.
In passing the sentence, St Clair-Douglas noted that although Ramlal claimed that she was beaten and threatened by Jadoo, she was not entitled to defences available to battered women, who kill their abusers.
“The facts do not demonstrate a sudden and temporary loss of self-control in the face of conduct on the part of the deceased that might have caused such a reaction. Neither is the court dealing with the slow burn accumulation of conduct on the part of the deceased, which had the figurative and cumulative effect of the straw that broke the camel’s back,” St Clair-Douglas said.
While he noted that the court does not countenance or condone domestic violence, he described the trio’s response as inexcusable.
“To put it plainly, the way to deal with an unagreeable or violent spouse or partner is not to sit down with others and plan his killing. There are other methods that can be employed to get out of that situation,” he said.
The trio was represented by Ulric Skerritt, Colin Selvon, Ravi Rajah, Delicia Helwig-Robertson, and Michelle Martinez. Indira Chinebas and Ambay Ramkhelawan prosecuted for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).