Former murder accused Jones Raymond, who was incarcerated for in excess of nine years without a trial, has slapped the State with a $3 million lawsuit over the breach of his fundamental rights.
Raymond, of Micobie Village, Region Eight, was remanded to prison on December 28, 2012, for the murder of Gary Joseph, who was shot with a bow and arrow between December 26 and December 27, 2012.
At the end of a Preliminary Inquiry (PI) on October 15, 2014, he was committed to stand trial in the Essequibo High Court.
The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) had received the depositions from that PI on March 23, 2015, but had remitted the case to the Magistrate’s Court for the presiding Magistrate to correct “several material irregularities and/or omissions.”
The DPP’s directives were never acted upon, and as such, the 58-year-old man was never indicted, and no trial of his committal had commenced.
As such, the former murder accused stayed in prison for nine years and six months. He was only released on July 25, 2022, after a jail delivery was brought before High Court Sandil Kissoon, who ruled that the man’s constitutional rights had been violated and infringed upon.
LAWSUIT AGAINST THE STATE
In a State of Claim (SoC) filed by his battery of Attorneys-at-Law led by Timothy Jonas, the 58-year-old man listed the Attorney General Chambers as the respondent.
He is seeking a declaration that the nine years he spent behind bars without a trial after he was charged with the capital offence of murder was in contravention of his fundamental rights guaranteed under Article 144 (1) of Guyana’s Constitution.
Article 144 (1) of the Constitution states that: “If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then, unless the charge is withdrawn, the case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by law.”
Moreover, Raymond is asking for a declaration that the conditions under which he was housed in the Camp Street and Lusignan Prisons while incarcerated were unlawful and breached his fundamental rights.
As such, the 58-year-old man is seeking $1 million for the violation of his fundament rights of protection and another $1 million for the inhumane and degrading treatment he faced while on remand.
Furthermore, he wants in excess of $1 million for being kept and housed in prison in awful and deplorable conditions for in excess of nine years.
In Court documents seen by MTV News Update, it was noted that from December 28, 2012, to July 25, 2022, Raymond was held at the Camp Street Prison, except for July 2017 to March 2018, when he was housed at the Lusignan Prison.
“While an inmate at Camp Street Prison for in excess of eight years, [Raymond] was kept in a crowded cell measuring approximately 15 feet x 20 feet, with at least 17 other inmates,” the Court documents said.
It added, “the said cell contained two toilets, of which often only one was functional and one bathroom to be shared by the said inmates therein. The said toilet was often clogged and reeked of an unbearable stench.”
Besides, the lawyers detailed in the Court documents that the cell was “hot, filthy, and smelled deplorable.” As a result of overcrowding, there were insufficient cots, and the 58-year-old often slept on the cell’s floor.
Furthermore, it was stated that almost every other day, there was no running water in the cells, which meant that Raymond and other inmates were often unable to take care of their hygiene.
“In and around January 2013, during one night, the claimant’s foot was set on fire by five different occasions by unknown inmates. During the night, his chest was also set on fire. The claimant was not protected from these atrocities from Prison Guards or otherwise.”