From (L-R): Dead: Dwieve Kant Ramdass and (murder convicts) Devon Gordon, Deon Greenidge, and Sherwyn Harte
The three soldiers who were given life sentences for the manner in which they robed and murdered Dwieve Kant Ramdass back in 2009 are begging and crying through their lawyers to have the appeal court overturn their life sentences as they are claiming it is too harsh.
Devon Gordon, Deon Greenidge, and Sherwyn Harte were found guilty back in 2013 for the murder of Ramdass. Shortly after they were found guilty, they filed an appeal against their conviction and sentence.
On the day in question at Caiman Hole in the Essequibo River, they forced the gold miner into their boat before relieving him of GYD $17M he was carrying for his employer. They then dumped him overboard.
Lawyers for the convicts who are on death row since 2013 for the murder are challenging the constitutionality of the capital punishment at the Guyana Court of Appeal.
On Thursday, the men appeared with defence lawyers Douglas Mendes, SC, Nigel Hughes, and Latchmie Rahamat before a panel of Judges led by Chancellor of the Judiciary Yonette Cummings-Edwards as the court entertained arguments on whether it has jurisdiction to hear the case. Following lengthy submissions, the matter was adjourned to July 22 at 09:30 h.
Among other things, the lawyers are contending that the death sentence provided for under the Criminal Law (Offences) Act is unconstitutional because it is disproportionate, irrational, arbitrary, and violates the principles of the rule of law.
“The death sentence violates the rule of law which is the core constitutional principle. It violates the right to equality and protection of the law. It violates the core principles in respect to dignity,” Mendes argues.
Should the Court of Appeal take jurisdiction over the case, lead academic experts Carolyn Hoyle, Professor of Criminology at the University of Oxford; Jeffery Fagan, Professor of Law at Columbia University; and Williams Schabas, Professor of Law at Middlesex University will among other things lead evidence on the arbitrariness of the death penalty.
While there has been a moratorium on the death penalty in Guyana since 1997, the courts continue to impose the capital punishment with the most recent case being Wednesday. There are a little over 10 male prisoners under the sentence of death in Guyana.
In 2013, the former GDF Coast Guards were found guilty by a jury of the August 20, 2009 murder of Bartica gold miner Dwieve Kant Ramdass.