NICHOLAS Rampersad, who was convicted by a judge of the murder of a teenaged mother in 2008, is not to be released before he has served four years and six months of his almost ten-year sentence.
Rampersad was on Tuesday sentenced to a total of 21 years’ hard labour by Justice Gillian Lucky, in keeping with sentencing guidelines. From that, the 11 years and six months Rampersad has spent in jail awaiting trial was deducted, leaving a sentence of nine years and five months.
Also as part of the judge’s order, Rampersad is to have his sentence reviewed at one-year intervals, or shorter than that if there are exceptional circumstances. His first sentence review will come up on January 14, 2021.
He also has to return to court next month, on February 13, as part of a sentencing monitoring imitative. Lucky said this was independent of the court’s sentence and orders but was see how he was coping in jail.
Now 26, Rampersad was days shy of his 15th birthday when he stabbed 17-year-old single mother of one, Crystal Bedasie some 15 times at his mother’s home in Marabella on June 27, 2008.
Rampersad, who opted for a judge alone trial, was convicted by Lucky on December 23.
Lucky began with a sentence of 25 years as her starting point after she considered the aggravating and mitigating factors of the offence, including the 15 stab wounds inflicted on Bedasie but also that the killing took place in the presence of her two-year-old.
A previous conviction earned Rampersad two more years, but his age at the time of the murder, his exemplary prison record and the support of his family, particularly his aunt and his respectfulness to the court earned him a discount. The time he has spent awaiting trial was also deducted from the sentence.
“There is hope Nicholas Rampersad is coming out one day,” Lucky said, adding that with greater monitoring, “there was hope for his rehabilitation.”
Addressing Rampersad directly, she told him, “Your circumstance was no excuse for what you did. Poverty is not an excuse for what you did. Use your time in jail wisely.
“There is a way to deal with things when it does not work out. Remember to keep your cool,” she said.
Lucky acknowledged that Rampersad had a challenging life growing up, having to stop school on occasions because his mother could not afford to send him. Referring to his previous conviction for stabbing and wounding his cousin some ten months before he killed Bedasie – he had been placed on a bond to keep the peace – Lucky said he did not get the support and counselling he needed.
“More should have been done. You were a young man at risk,” she said.
She suggested he enrol in an anger management course while in prison and he has already said that he wants to complete studies in Maths, English, Social Studies, Principles of Accounts and Principles of Business. He is also interested in tailoring and his aunt has promised to have him run her sewing shop in Arima when he is released from prison.
Rampersad has also said he loves art and enjoys reading, and while there is a limited number of books in the prison library, his aunt has promised to send him some.
This is one of the reasons, Lucky said she wanted to monitor Rampersad’s progress to ensure that he has enrolled in the classes he wanted and received the books promised by his aunt.
According to the prosecution’s evidence, which was led by senior State attorney Trevor Jones, Rampersad in a fit of rage, stabbed Bedasie.
During the trial, the State contended that before Bedasie lost consciousness, she gave a dying declaration. Attorney Rekha Ramjit and Aleyya Gafoor-Ali represented Rampersad.