NARI Maraj, an air-conditioning technician, appeared before Chaguanas magistrate Christine Charles yesterday afternoon charged with the murder of 13-year-old Trinity College student Joash Pantin.
The magistrate, who presides over the first court, read the charge that on a date between November 30 and December 4, Maraj murdered Pantin at Cashew Gardens in Chaguanas.
Maraj lives at Longdenville.
WPC Callender of Homicide Bureau Region III laid the charge.
Murders are indictable matters, so Maraj was not called upon to plead. Legal officer PC Kyrn Lewis submitted a file last week and yesterday the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions instructed police to charge Maraj. Acting Insp Wayne Waithe prosecuted and attorney Taradath Singh represented Maraj.
Singh asked the prosecutor if police had launched an investigation regarding buggery by the accused on the deceased, saying he wanted clarification on that issue. The prosecutor responded that a state attorney has to be appointed to prosecute the case and the initial disclosure will be made at the next hearing.
Neither Maraj's nor Pantin's relatives attended the hearing.
Pantin’s decomposing body was found last Monday at 6 pm – two days after he was reported missing – near the family’s home at Chaguanas. An autopsy at the Forensic Sciences Centre, St James, was inconclusive. Relatives said investigators told them the boy may have been strangled, owing to the marks around his neck. But this could not be confirmed because of the body’s advanced state of decomposition.
The magistrate adjourned the case to January 10.