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Man accused of human torch murder freed

A judge at the High Court in New Amsterdam yesterday quashed the committal for the trial of a man who allegedly murdered his wife by setting her on fire.

David Ramdehol was on trial for murdering Barbara Thayloo, his reputed wife, on July 13, 2003.

His lawyer had last Wednesday objected to the dying declaration made by the deceased to her sister and this led to a voir dire (a trial within a trial).

Justice Rishi Persaud quashed the committal after taking into consideration that there was no indication on record that the magistrate told the accused of his rights at the end of the preliminary inquiry (PI).

The judge was also not satisfied that Section 66 of the Criminal Law Offences Act Chapter 10:01 was put to the accused.

This section states that at the end of the PI the magistrate shall ask the accused whether he wished to call any witnesses.

The judge also considered that the accused was unrepresented at that trial and there was evidence that he could not read or write.

Justice Persaud also considered the nature of the charge and that there was no indication that the accused would not have called witnesses.

According to evidence by the accused, the magistrate never asked him if he had witnesses to call.

The magistrate had given evidence that if he had asked this of the accused, he would have recorded it. This was not in the records.

The prosecution's case was that Thayloo was deliberately set alight by her reputed husband, Ramdehol.

She was seen running from her home covered in flames and later died at the New Amsterdam Hospital from her injuries.

The prosecutor was Nyasha Williams and the lawyer for the defence was Motee Singh.