After spending eight years on remand, Neville Chandrawattie called ‘Sunil’ was freed of a murder charge on Wednesday after Justice Jo Ann Barlow upheld a no-case submission and directed the 12-member jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.
In 2013, Chandrawattie was charged with the April 21, 2007 murder of gold and diamond dealer Dharam Chanmangra which occurred during the course/furtherance of a robbery.
It was reported that Chandrawattie of Sparta, Essequibo Coast, and others robbed the El Dorado Trading Company in Port Kaituma on April 21, 2007, during which Chanmangra was shot and killed. The robbers reportedly escaped with cash and a quantity of raw gold valued at some $93 million.
At the end of the preliminary Inquiry (PI) in May 2017, Principal Magistrate Judy Latchman ruled that a prima facie case was made out against Chandrawattie to put him on trial for the offence at the Demerara High Court.
His trial commenced on November 24, 2021. After Senior State Counsel Lisa Cave closed the case for the prosecution, Chandrawattie’s lawyer, Siand Dhurjon presented a no-case submission in which he asked the Judge to acquit his client without him having to present a defence. Justice Barlow upheld the submission of no case to answer and directed the jury to return a formal verdict of not guilty.
The Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Shalimar Ali-Hack, SC has given oral notice of her intention to appeal Chandrawattie’s acquittal.