Saturday, December 16, 2017

Freed Death Row inmate killed

A former Death Row inmate, freed two years ago on a legal technicality on the charge of murdering a State witness, was shot dead in Caroni yesterday. 

Anthony “Tonic” Amogan, who was freed after a judge found the delay in completing his case was unjustified, was killed at a house in La Paille Village. 

According to police, a party of officers of the Chaguanas CID and Central Division went to the house at Diamond Avenue to search for firearms and ammunition. 

Police said when they turned up at the house, they were greeted by gunfire. 

Officers returned fire and Amogan was killed.

 A nine-millmetre pistol loaded with six rounds of ammunition was recovered at the crime scene, police said. 

Police said Amogan, 43, was a suspect in the recent murder of nightwatchman Michael Heeralal, who was shot dead outside his home, along with several other homicides in the Central Division. 

On December 17, 2012, Amogan was released from prison due to a clerical error, while his co-accused had to face trial.

Justice Malcolm Holdip had permanently blocked the State from proceeding against Amogan on the basis of a 15-year delay to bring him to trial. 

Amogan and Michael “Wolf” Ramdawar were jointly charged with the murder of Ramcoomar Ramoutar, who was shot dead on February 22, 1997.

They were convicted in a trial in 2003 before Justice Prakash Moosai, who sentenced them to death by hanging. 

The notes of evidence became available on April 27, 2006 and the men successfully appealed the conviction and sentence.

A retrial was ordered on December 15, 2006 and the matter was placed on a Cause List hearing for February 12, 2007. 

Their attorneys filed an application seeking to have the indictments quashed on the basis of delay.

In a written judgment, Holdip found the delay between 1997 and 2006 was unjustifiable. 

The judge dismissed a similar claim in relation to Ramdawar, saying he was of the view the accused would receive a fair trial in the circumstances. 

But shortly after his ruling, the judge recalled the matter, saying he “may have unwittingly not recognised the fact that the second named applicant adopted all the grounds of the first applicant”. 

Amogan’s family was told yesterday the autopsy would be done on Monday.

Relatives of the deceased man said the police failed to appear at the Forensic Science Centre yesterday, so the autopsy had to be postponed.

Amogan’s eldest daughter, Sasha Amogan, 20, said she never spent much time with her father, since he was behind bars for several years.

However, she said that after he came out of prison, he began bonding with his family and taking care of them again. 

She questioned the validity of the police report, as she said her father had put his criminal ways behind him and had even told her the night before that he had to live so he could care of his family to make up for the years he was away.