Meignauth Premraj, a 42-year-old, has been given life imprisonment in Guyana by Justice Sandil Kissoon of the Berbice High Court on Tuesday, 21st November 2023.
Meignauth Premraj is to serve a life imprisonment for killing his own childhood friend back in 2021.
Moreover, the 42-year-old also pleaded guilty to the offence of manslaughter. Premraj, who is also known as “Smokey”, is a vegetable merchant and a father of one child.
His childhood friend has been identified as Mark Griffith alas, “Rancher” was a 40-year-old and he died on 17th January 2021.
While talking to a probation officer in an interview, Smokey stated that it was Griffith who attacked him first with a cutlass; he just tried to defend himself, but that went the wrong way.
He added that he apologized for killing his own friend and taking away his life.
Upon hearing the case, Justice Kissoon described this incident as a serious crime, senseless and tragic. He further added that life is sacred and once it is taken, it cannot be restored.
He also added that a life sentence is an appropriate punishment in such cases of violent killings and the seriousness of the crime has an effect on the court’s decision.
While announcing his punishment, Justice Kissoon also said that after 20 years of Smokey’s punishment, the culprit will become eligible for parole and the time he will spend on remand will be fully credited.
Justice Kissoon also made it mandatory for him to enrol in classes and programmes that are a part of the prison rehabilitation system so that he can prepare himself for any occupation upon his release.
Surihya Sabsook was the attorney-at-law, whereas the matter was prosecuted by State Counsel Muntaz Ali.
As per the facts shown by the lawyer, Premraj and Griffith had been neighbours and friends since childhood. They used to drink alcohol together as well.
Talking about the tragic incident, it was mentioned that the culprit was standing on a bridge with a chopper and was firing chops at his friend on 17th January 2021 at 16:30 hrs.
Premraj was given a continuous warning, but he continued to chop away at his friend. The victim was later removed from a trench that was completely covered in blood.
Moreover, when Premraj was questioned for his actions by the Police officials, he replied that he was disrespected by his friend.
Premraj also spent four years in the United States for a robbery with violence case then he was deported to Guyana in 1999.
Here, Premraj has also spent years in jail for armed robbery. Due to his extensive criminal record, Justice Kissoon described Premraj as a “violent recidivist”.