Mango man robbery-murderAfter more than a month of trial amid multiple adjournments, notorious gang member Mark Royden “Smallie” Williams and Sherwin Nero called “Catty” were both found not guilty of the 2007 murder of Kumar Singh called “Mango Man” who was shot dead after gunmen robbed his Cove and John, East Coast Demerara home. The jury’s decision was returned after several hours of deliberation at the High Court on Wednesday.Deceased: Kumar “Mango Man” SinghThe matter was presided over by Justice James Bovell-Drakes and Attorney Nigel Hughes defended the accused. Though they were absolved of this crime, the two are still returning to jail since “Smallie” was committed to death by hanging for the February 2008 Bartica massacre while Nero was remanded pending other matters before the court.They were implicated in the murder of “Mango Man” whilst executing a robbery on August 30, 2007, when the man’s relatives were visiting from neighbouring Suriname. During the trial, the jury had been told that an ex-police rank transported the duo from Kumar Singh’s home via horse cart which the defence argued was implausible. Singh was killed after gunmen stormed his premises and allegedly made off with cash and jewellery.When “Smallie” had taken the stand, he implicated Inspector Suraj Singh and other ranks of torturing him. His account to the jury was that upon his 2008 arrest, he was handcuffed, beaten and shocked into signing the police caution statement which he claimed was not freely given. Prosecutors Tameika Clarke and Tiffini Lyken led the State’s case.Mark Royden “Smallie” Williams and Sherwin Nero called “Catty” being escorted from courtThis long-delayed trial concerning “Mango Man’s” death was one of much contention and constitutional challenges that disallowed the case from moving forward on multiple occasions when called up at various Assizes. One such halt came in November 2017 when the duo made a second appearance before Justice Brassington Reynolds but the State was at that time prevented from laying the murder indictment against the duo. This was owing to a then pending matter that was before acting Chief Justice Roxane George, which was brought on by Defence Counsel Nigel Hughes on behalf of Nero. It had been contended that waiting nine years for a trial violates Article 144 of Guyana’s Constitution. Section 1 of the Article states: “If any person is charged with a criminal offence, then, unless the charge is withdrawn, the case shall be afforded a fair hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial court established by law”.However, the “Mango Man” murder case did come up for High Court trial in June 2014 before another judge but was prevented from continuing owing to an objection by one of the accused. It was in July 2008 that the two suspects were initially charged for the capital offence but Williams’ brushes with the law extended beyond his February 2017 death sentence.In July 2017, he along with others staged a daring escape from the Camp Street Prison which housed death row inmates. During this ordeal which gripped the nation, Prison Officer Odinga Wickham was killed, and the Camp Street Prison was reduced to ashes. Williams was recaptured on October 9, 2017, on his way to Suriname. He was a passenger in a minibus which was intercepted at Weldaad, West Coast Berbice, by investigators.During the Bartica Massacre trial that predated his escape, Williams was identified as the one who handed a gun to gang leader Rondell “Fineman” Rawlins to shoot five persons at the Bartica Ferry Stelling, at close range. These five were among 12 persons who had been slaughtered whilst watching a game of 20/20 cricket. Among the dead were three policemen after the Bartica Police Station was shot at and invaded.