– October session opens with 141 casesThe criminal backlog has been reduced by 29 cases that were disposed of during the June 2016 Criminal Assizes, which wrapped up on Friday last following a gaol delivery done by Justice James Bovell-Drakes.The June session commenced with Justice Navindra Singh, Justice Jo-Ann Barlow and Justice Priya Sewnarine-Beharry. Justice Bovell-Drakes joined Justice Singh and Justice Beharry from July until the end of session.During that Assizes 116 cases were listed to be heard, 29 of which were disposed of. However, only 15 cases received attention in the High Court of Demerara, while the other 14 matters were nolle prosequi by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).Of the 15 matters that were presented in court, there were eight formal verdicts of not guilty, three not guilty verdicts by jury, one guilty plea, two guilty verdicts and one hung jury.The June Assizes saw Justice Singh disposing of five cases. In a murder case, the judge upheld a no case submission and directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict. The same was done in a Carnal Knowledge of Girl Under 15 Years and Abduction matter after the complainant testified that she did not wish to proceed with the trial.The accused in two rape cases were also acquitted after the jury was directed to return verdicts of not guilty following testimonies by both complainants who did not want to proceed with the matters.Meanwhile, the accused in a Rape of A Child Under 16 Years case was acquitted after the jury returned a not guilty verdict.During June, Justice Barlow completed four cases, one of which saw the accused, who was indicted with three counts for murder, pleading guilty to the lesser count of manslaughter and was sentenced to life imprisonment with a chance of parole after 30 years.A matter of Carnal Knowledge of Girl Under 15 Years resulted in the accused being acquitted after the complainant testified that she did not wish to proceed with the matter.Another case for the combined offences of Buggery and Indecent Assault in which three accused were indicted together, the jury found the number one accused unanimously guilty of buggery and indecent assault. He was sentenced to a total of 29 years imprisonment.The Number Two accused was found guilty by a majority verdict for the offence of indecent assault and was sentenced to four years imprisonment. While the number three accused was acquitted on all three charges.Moreover, a jury panel returned not guilty verdicts against an accused indicted with two counts of rape of a child under 16 years.On the other hand, Justice Beharry disposed of three matters, including a murder case, in which the accused was indicted on two counts and was found unanimously guilty on both, resulting in a death sentence.Additionally, in two separate cases of Carnal Knowledge of A Girl Under 15 Years and Rape of A Child Under 16 Years, both complainants failed to attend court and as such, both juries were directed to return verdicts of not guilty.Meanwhile, Justice Bovell-Drakes also completed three matters, one of which saw a murder accused sent back to prison to await a new trial after the jury failed to reach a verdict.The other two matters were for the offence of Rape of A Child Under 16 Years and one of the accused was acquitted after the jury returned a majority verdict of not guilty, while the complainant failed to attend Court thus the jury was directed to return a verdict of not guilty for the accused.nolle prosequiFurthermore, during the June Session a total of 14 cases were nolle prosequi by the DPP. These include 10 matters for sexual offences, one for the offence of Unlawful Wounding, another one for Causing Grievous Bodily Harm with Intent, and two matters of Manslaughter.In addition, the DPP appeared in eleven matters in the Court of Appeal during June to August.Four Appellants had their applications withdrawn; of these four, two were for Bail and the other two were for Extension of Time to File Notices of Appeal. Three other Applications for Bail were refused while one Application for Bail was granted by the Court.In one other matter, the Appellant who is serving time had his appeal against conviction and sentence dismissed. Two Appellants were granted their Applications for Extensions of Time to File Grounds of Appeal Within 7 days.Moreover, the Demerara Full Court heard one matter in September which saw counsel for the Appellant, who is serving a four-year, two month sentence for Possession of Narcotics for the Purpose of Trafficking, informing the Court that a Notice of Withdrawal to Appeal was filed.The Demerara October 2016 Criminal Assizes will commence on Tuesday with 141 cases listed. Justice Bovell-Drakes, Justice Barlow and Justice Roxane George will preside during this session.