TWO men were yesterday acquitted of the murder 78-year-old Soonardaye Singh in October 2007. Romeo Grannum and Ancil Ramroop were found not-guilty by a Port of Spain jury for killing Singh on October 7 of that year, at Ganga Trace, Las Lomas No 2.
They were before Justice Carla Brown-Antoine. The two were represented by attorney Israel Khan, SC, while Maria Lyons-Edwards prosecuted.
Speaking after the verdict was delivered, Khan said it was a serious indictment on democracy when people, presumed to be innocent, were locked up for 11 years or more awaiting trial. He said the time had come to categorise murder in the first, second and third degree.
“The average time for a trial is 10 years and this is morally wrong.” Among the prosecution’s main witnesses was Singh’s neighbour David Mack, a soldier who said he ran after the two when he saw them leaving Singh’s house.
Another neighbour, Kishoor Ramkisson, said he saw the men going into the old woman’s house. Acting ASP Neil Brandon-John who laid the charge, said that Grannum had told him he was drinking at a bar in St Helena with a man named Vijay Gobin and a woman. The woman said she had her husband or an old woman’s house to rob. Grannum allegedly said they went by a house in Las Lomas and Vijay and the woman went inside. Thinking they were taking too long inside, Grannum said he went inside and saw Vijay planassing (hit with flat side of a cutlass) an old woman.
He said that when he complained, he was hit on his right shoulder and he left the house because he, “couldn’t stand to see him (Viyay) planassing an old woman.”
Ramroop allegedly told the officer that he, Vijay and Grannum went to drink rum in St Helena and they went by a house in Las Lomas. He said Vijay and the woman went inside the house and then Vijay ran out, jumped in the car and drove off.
It was the contention of the defence that the murder was committed by another man and Grannum and Ramroop had nothing to do with the woman’s death. Gobin also testified at the trial.