Judge-alone wounding trial verdict in January

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On January 5 a High Court judge will give her verdict in a judge-alone trial of a South Oropouche man accused of wounding a neighbour in an alleged robbery over a decade ago.

Justice Lisa Ramsumair-Hinds set the date for her ruling on Thursday at the close of Roger Ragoopath’s defence. The trial was held virtually and Ragoopath testified from the virtual court facility at the Maximum Security Prison.

As is required by law, in judge-alone trials, the judge had 14 days to deliver her verdict and give her reasons for coming to her decision. However, with the law term closing for Christmas on December 19, there was no objection to her going to January 5.

Ragoopath is alleged to have robbed Ramesh Mungroo with violence on September 2, 2007.

Mungroo was allegedly walking near his home when he was attacked, slashed with a knife and robbed of $80 and two cellphones by Ragoopath and another man.

Mungroo survived and identified his attackers, but died in unrelated circumstances before the case went to trial. His evidence at the preliminary inquiry at the magistrates’ courts was used at Ragoopath’s trial.

The last time the case was called, in early November, Ramsumair-Hinds ruled against an application by the prosecution to join Ragoopath’s alleged accomplice, who was arrested in October. She also ruled against aborting the trial.

Ragoopath first gave evidence on October 29. In his testimony he said hours before the incident with Mungroo, the latter tried to molest him at a play park in the community.

Ragoopath, who was 15 at the time, said he told his friend and they agreed to confront Mungroo.

He admitted that his friend and Mungroo had a scuffle and claimedhe ran away when he noticed Mungroo was bleeding from a wound to his neck. Ragoopath also denied robbing Mungroo.

When confronted over the incident in his mother’s presence, Ragoopath allegedly told police: “I really had a knife on me. Me and (name called) went to teach Ramesh a lesson. He like to touch boys. He get he throat cut and we run.”

In cross-examination by lead prosecutor Maria Lyons-Edwards on Thursday, Ragoopath insisted there was an incident between himself and Mungroo at the play park earlier that night. He maintained the man tried to pull his pants down and interfere with him.

He denied he grabbed Mungroo around his neck or that he had a knife. He admitted to having a metal putty knife but referred to it as a putty paste and said he used it to clean fish.

Ragoopath said Mungroo made up the allegation that he robbed and attacked him.

“He was just looking for something to make up because what he do earlier that day,” Ragoopath said, insisting also that he did not slit Mungroo’s throat. He has said it was his alleged accomplice who had a scuffle with Mungroo and when he saw the blood on Mungroo’s neck he got “frightened” and ran.

While admitting he was upset after the incident with Mungroo in the play park, he said he had no intention of “doing what happen.”

“You just left him there for dead,” Lyons-Edwards put to him, but he replied, “When I see the blood, I get frightened and run.”

He also said he only found out about the money and cellphone when the charge was read to him at the Siparia police station before he appeared in court.

Ragoopath is represented by attorney Renuka Rambhajan.

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