Calvin King (face hidden) and Alvin Kissoon

Life sentences were imposed yesterday on Alvin Kissoon and Calvin King who were convicted last month for the January 2013 murder of security guard, John Friday, who was shot and killed during a robbery at the Lethem Post Office.

The now convicted killers had initially denied that between January 18 and January 19, 2013, they murdered Friday.
During a sentence hearing yesterday at the High Court in Demerara, State Prosecutor Abigail Gibbs urged Justice Sandil Kissoon to consider that at the time of the robbery Friday was working to make an honest living. The prosecutor in her address, highlighted that the robbery was well orchestrated, based on the evidence presented at the trial.
During their trial, Kissoon, formerly of Kaneville, East Bank Demerara and King, formerly of Savage Street North-East La Penitence, Georgetown, were represented by lawyers Adrian Thompson and Lyndon Amsterdam, respectively. Prosecutor Gibbs stressed the prevalence of these sorts of offences in society, while pointing out that the court has a duty, not only to the victim, but also to society, to impose a sentence that will serve as a deterrent to like-minded individuals.
Justice Kissoon, in handing down the sentences, agreed with submissions made by King’s lawyer, in which he argued that sentencing is not done in a straitjacket. The Judge said that he is cognizant of the fact that the purpose of sentencing is not only to punish an offender, but to also rehabilitate them. In the circumstances of this case, Justice Kissoon said that the aggravated factors were overwhelming, having considered the manner in which Friday met his demise.
In giving a recap of the evidence, the Judge said that there was a great level of premeditation and planning. It was noted by the judge that King and Kissoon committed the crime to obtain money unlawfully. The judge also considered the prevalence of the offence, and the extent of injuries Friday sustained, in arriving at an appropriate sentence.
He also considered that both men spent six years in pre-trial custody, the fact that they have no previous convictions, and a probation report which outlined that they are of good character. Justice Kissoon, however, found no mitigating factors, thus, he sentenced them each to serve life imprisonment with the possibility of parole after serving a minimum of 32 years in prison.
King in his address to the court maintained that he was innocent. He said, “I am innocent of this charge. I have never participated in this murder. I have a family out there that I support.”
Between the reported dates of the incident, the men entered the post office where they tied up and physically brutalised two on-duty security guards – one of them being Friday. The watchmen were bound and pieces of cloth were stuffed in their mouths.
Police reports had indicated that two men entered the compound of the Regional Democratic Council at Lethem at around 2:00 hours on January 18, 2013. The men then broke into five safes using a cutting torch.
At the time of their arrest, King and Kissoon were found with stolen cash, a quantity of phone cards, along with other items. Police later discovered the body of Friday. Following reports of the robbery, police were alerted and ranks at the Mabura checkpoint stopped and searched a car during which over $4M was found hidden under the back seat.

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