Barbados is awaiting a decision from the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) in a case involving a convicted drug trafficker.
The matter of Rohan Shastri Rambarran came up before the CCJ in Trinidad and Tobago on Monday, and Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Charles Leacock, QC urged the judges to reject the application for leave to extend his time to appeal his sentence and conviction.
Rambarran, a businessman of Georgetown, Guyana, was among six people sentenced in December 2009 to an historic 428 years in prison for 28 drug offences relating to a police seizure of hundreds of kilogrammes of both cannabis and cocaine at a house in Bay Gardens, St Michael on June 4, 2009. He was described by the judge hearing the case as the “mastermind” behind the operation and was sentenced to 125 years in jail – 15 years for the importation, 15 years for possession and 25 years for trafficking cannabis; 20 years for importation, 20 years for possession and 30 years for trafficking of cocaine.
The Barbados Court of Appeal ruled in February this year that Rambarran was out of time for his appeal, but in early August, the CCJ allowed Rambarran and three other convicts to appeal that ruling.
In his submission on Monday, Leacock reminded the CCJ of the February ruling and also argued that the appellant was now seeking to clarify whether he was in fact out of time. The DPP contended that Rambarran could not seek to clarify when time runs out under Section 19 (1) of the Criminal Appeal Act and then await the ruling before seeking to apply for extended time under Section 19 (2) of the same Act. Leacock said this would lead to protracted litigation, no finality of judgments and a waste of time, resources and expenses. Rambarran had filed two notices, one against conviction on 9 July 2009 and a notice against sentence on 30 December 2009. Leacock noted that the latter was well within the time for appeal against his sentence. He told the panel of regional justices that the appellant recognized the need to appeal both conviction and sentence.
However, the DPP submitted that on 9 July 2009, Rambarran was 35 days after conviction and on the hearing of appeal on 23 September 2014, was almost five years, six months late.
It was not immediately clear when the CCJ would rule on the matter.