FOR the first time in ten years, freed San Fernando doubles vendor Putitia Mohammed, 39, was reunited with her children, whom she intends to get to know.
“They are 14, 15 and 16 now,” she said. “When I went to prison, they were four, five and six years old. “I have to get to know them back. Twice a year we got visits from our kids. I have to get to know what they like, what they don’t like, their attitudes. Spending a few hours with them twice a year in jail was not enough.”
The mother of three spoke outside the San Fernando High Court on Wednesday last week, moments after a jury found her and a man, Daniel Sammy, 42, not guilty of the 2008 murder of Stephen Joshua.
Also jointly charged was Mohammed’s husband Nizam Mohammed, 45. The jury found him not guilty of murder, but guilty on the lesser charge of manslaughter. He is to reappear in court on April 18 for sentencing.
On May 3, 2008, the victim was at the couple’s apartment at Cipero Road, Friendship Village in San Fernando, where the incident happened. At the time, Sammy was staying at the home, and the couple had hired him to build their cupboards. There was an altercation in which Joshua, also called Jumbo, was set on fire.
The couple and their former worker went on trial before Justice Maria Wilson and a jury in San Fernando Third Criminal Court. Attorney Israel Khan SC represented the couple while attorney Ramesh Deena represented Sammy. State attorneys Trevor Jones and Anslem Leander prosecuted.
Saying she was innocent, Mohammed complained that the justice system in this country is very slow.
“The incident happened very quickly where I grabbed the kids and put them in a room. People were banging on the house saying they would kill us and things like that. I did not see the man caught on fire. Seven days after, we got charged,” she said.
Whilst in prison, Mohammed said, she pursued various courses and participated in events including singing competitions. She said she also learnt to build her faith and hold on to God for everything while in custody. In his defence during the trial, Nizam said he set Joshua on fire in self-defence.