A week after he was pulled from the wreck of a crash which would eventually claim the lives of a doctor and another man, a 19-year-old La Romaine man appeared on Thursday in court charged with kidnapping and murdering the two men.
Antonio Francois appeared before senior magistrate Jo-Anne Conner where several charges were read to him arising out of the deaths of Dr Rudradeva Sharma and Akeem Marine, 17.
Police who were part of the investigations later told Newsday that Francois was charged under the Murder Felony Rule, under the Criminal Law Act.
Section (2) of the Act states that when someone embarks upon committing an arrestable offence which involves violence such as robbery or kidnapping, and someone is killed in the course of that action, he or all other people engaged in the act are liable to be convicted of murder, even if there was no intent to kill.
The first charge read out by magistrate Connor to Francois was that on Wednesday January 15, along the Solomon Hochoy Highway, in the area of the Macaulay overpass near Claxton Bay, he murdered Dr Rudradeva Sharma who was the nephew of former UNC MP Chandresh Sharma.
A second charge read to him stated that on the same day and at the same location, he also murdered Marine. Francois was also charged with kidnapping Dr Sharma and Dr Prem Naidoo from Independence Avenue in San Fernando.
The magistrate then read out another charge that Francois used violence to rob Dr Sharma of a cell phone valued $2,500 and his Honda CRV, valued $120,000. Francois was charged with robbing Dr Naidoo of an iPhone valued US$175. All charges were laid indictably by detective WPC Bassarath. As the charge of murder in a non-bailable offence, the issue of bail did not arise.
Attorney Indira Binda, who represented Francois, told the court that her client was injured but she will write to prison regarding the injury. The magistrate asked if Francois has been medically examined and the attorney said, yes. The magistrate said a medical certificate will be submitted to the prison authorities.
Prosecutor Sgt Gadoo told the court that tracing was not done and Francois' criminal record must also be checked. The attorney said her client has one previous conviction for marijuana but he was reprimanded and discharged.
Dr Naidoo, 37, and Dr Sharma, 38, were abducted on January 15 by three men at Rushworth Street in San Fernando. While the abductors were making their escape in Sharma's CRV, it crashed in Macaulay, killing Sharma on the spot.
Dr Naidoo and the three suspects were taken to the San Fernando General Hospital where one of the suspects later died while Dr Naidoo was discharged. One suspect is still hospitalised. Dr Sharma’s funeral was held on Sunday at the family home. The case was adjourned to February 20.