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Back to jail for Neesa Gopaul’s mom as freedom hinged on sentence miscalculation

Back to jail for Neesa Gopaul’s mom as freedom hinged on sentence miscalculation

Three months after releasing her, the Guyana Prison Service is now admitted that it made an incorrect calculation of her prison term, which resulted in her being freed prematurely.

On Thursday, the Guyana Prison Service recalled Mrs. Gopaul to prison to complete serving the full 25-year sentence that the Caribbean Court of Justice imposed on her in 2022.

“In all of the circumstances, a just and proportionate sentence is 30 years imprisonment with no eligibility for parole before the expiration of 15 years.

From this sentence, the period of five years will be deducted for time spent in custody while on remand, with the practical consequences that from the date of conviction in 2015, Gopaul will spend a maximum of 25 years in prison.

“Unfortunately, and in error, the Prison Officials reckoned the sentence to run from the date Gopaul was first remanded which was October 10, 2010, and not the 5th of March 2015, which was the date of conviction and on which sentence was imposed”, a release stated.

“From the clear language of the order of the CCJ, the sentence should have been reckoned to start to run from the 5th March 2015.”

Sharima-Gopaul was detained in 2010 for the murder of her 16-year-old daughter Neesa Gopaul.

It was a case that continues to shock the nation. She had been initially sentenced in the High Court to 96 years imprisonment, while her co-accused and former lover, Jarvis ‘Barry’ Small, was sentenced to 106 years.

But her sentence was further reduced to 45 years and then to 25 years with the possibility of parole after 15 years, following appeals to the Guyana Court of Appeal and the Caribbean Court of Justice in 2022. However, the CJJ rejected her appeal to have her case dismissed.

The CCJ directed that her co-accused, Jarvis Small, be freed due to a lack of sufficient evidence to link him to the teen’s murder.

Her release was a well-kept secret until Big Smith News watch visited the woman at her Leonora home last Tuesday.

During the visit, a smiling Bibi Gopaul had looked none the worse for her years behind bars.

However, she repeatedly declined requests for an interview. She indicated that her reluctance was due to unprofessional and biased reporting by the media during the police investigation and during her trial.  Mrs. Gopaul also indicated that she was innocent.