Justice Simone Morris-Ramlall has imposed a 15-year prison term on Asif Hamid, butcher of Lot 34 Kingston, Corriverton, Upper Corentyne, Berbice, after he was convicted of killing a cattle farmer and burning his body at the back of his house. .
The 27-year-old was handed down the sentence at Berbice Assizes on Wednesday. Butcher is guilty of killing Henry Lalmam, 76, of Village No. 56 in August, 2015.
After pleading guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter last week, Justice Ramlall had asked for a probation report on the conviction.
In her report presented to the court Wednesday, Probation and Welfare Office Felicia Gordon said Hamid had a solid secondary education and had seven subjects at CSEC.
He noted that shortly after leaving school, Hamid took over his father’s craft as a butcher.
According to Gordon, he spoke to several members of the accused’s family to find out about his character. Some, he revealed, referred to Hamid as a good person. However, one family member described having a problem. He said he was a normal gambler.
Defense Attorney Mursaline Bacchus, SC, in a plea of mitigation, referred to several other cases of a similar nature and the penalty imposed in each of those cases. Bacchus argued that no weapon was used in committing the murder.
State Prosecutor Tuanna Hardy, however, said Hamid’s hands were as fatal as any weapon. He reminded the court that Hamid had used both hands to choke the cattle farmer. He argued that it was as a result of his gambling habit and greed that Hamid committed the act.
He also asked the court to note that the deceased had trusted Hamid and had gone to his home alone. The prosecutor submitted that sentencing should reflect punishment that would deter those who wanted to attack the vulnerable.
In passing the sentence, Justice Ramlall said Hamid had seized the elderly man, and attracted him to his yard.
The deceased, Judge of the case, added that he did not fight back, and had trusted Hamid.
Reports in 2015 are that Hamid has been taking animals from the cattle farmer on a credit arrangement just as his father did with the now deceased man.
However, the Police were able to find evidence to suggest that Lalman had spoken to Hamid’s father about an unpaid bill, and that elder Hamid had expressed alarm, as his son had not sent on such an arrangement.
Lalman subsequently contacted the younger Hamid to inquire about the unpaid funds, and was invited to his home. It was there that Hamid killed the cattle farmer. Worried about the cattle farmer’s whereabouts, his family noted he was missing. That’s when close relatives of Hamid alerted the Police to the issue of debt.
However, when questioned at the time, the younger Hamid had said he had not seen Lalman. Investigators who searched the yard for evidence found a recently excavated area behind the house. It was later found to contain the remains of the cattle farmer.
The younger Hamid later admitted to killing his father’s friend to avoid having to pay his bill. (G4)