The Demerara January 2021 Criminal Assizes opened this morning at the High Court in Georgetown with 342 cases listed for trial.
Murder and sexual offences account for the majority of the cases.
The sexual offences include: rape, sexual activity with a child under 16 years, carnal knowledge of a girl under 15 years, buggery, incest by male, sexual activity with a child by abusing a position of trust, and indecent assault on female.
Muslim scholar Neezam Ali and former Bishops’ High School teacher, Coen Jackson, are among those to be tried for sexual offences.
Ali is currently serving a 45 years’ jail sentence after a jury found him unanimously guilty of one of nine indictments for sexual activity with a child by abusing a position of trust.
He was found guilty of engaging in anal penetration with one of nine underage age boys who took Quran and Arabic lessons from him at a Mosque on the East Coast of Demerara.
Jackson, on the other hand, is accused of having sexual contact with one of his underage students.
The incident is said to have occurred at D’Urban Street, Lodge, Georgetown, during December 2010 and May 2011. He has been released on $300,000 bail pending trial.
One of the notable murder cases involves Regan Rodrigues who is accused of the March 10, 2015 murder of political activist, Courtney Crum-Ewing.
According to reports, the bullet-riddled body of Crum-Ewing was found at Third Avenue, Diamond, East Bank Demerara on March 10, 2015. The 40-year-old was shot twice to the temple, once to the back of the head and twice to the stomach.
The police, in a statement, had said that the political activist was accosted by four men in a car. One of them discharged several rounds, hitting him about the body. It was reported that the killer(s) used a .32 pistol to execute Crum-Ewing.
Also in the session, there are cases for attempt to commit murder and manslaughter.
There are also a few more cases for wounding with intent, abduction with intent to hold for ransom, robbery under-arms, trafficking in narcotics, obtaining money by false pretence, conspiracy to commit a felony, conspiracy to commit murder and accessory after the fact to murder, among others.
Madam Justice Jo-Ann Barlow, Justice Brassington Reynolds and Justice Navindra Singh have been rostered to sit during this session. The session is expected to conclude at the end of March 2021.