High Court Judge Justice Navindra Singh via gaol delivery brought a formal end to January session of Demerara Criminal Assizes on Thursday last. In a statement issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) on Tuesday, it was observed that 32 of 229 cases in Demerara were disposed of. This number reflected that 14 per cent of the cases were cleared from the judicial backlog.The April session of the Demerara Criminal Assizes commenced Tuesday where Justice Bovell-Drakes, Justice Kissoon and Justice Barlow are on rotation. The DDP’s office said that the Berbice February Session will continue until May while the Essequibo February Assizes will conclude on May 21.DemeraraJustices James Bovell-Drakes, Navindra Singh and Simone Morris-Ramlall sat at the previous session. Of the 32 matters from the previous session; the Office of the DPP presented 24 in the High Court of Demerara while eight were nolle prosequi (dismissed) by the DPP.Of the 24 cases presented, 12 were for the offence of murder, 11 for sexual offences and one for the offence of attempted murder with an alternative count for wounding with intent. The statement noted that there were four guilty pleas, 10 convictions, seven not guilty verdicts by jury and three formal verdicts of not guilty; that latter of which was ordered by the presiding Judge.For Sexual Offences Court, presided over by Justice Morris-Ramlall, four were for the offence of rape. Justice Morris-Ramlall passed lengthy prison terms for several men who were found guilty of rape, especially that of young children. Notably, over 140 listed cases in Demerara related to sexual offences.One of those charged were Rohan Daniels called “Shine Buck”, who was sentenced to life, with possibility of parole after 40 years on two counts of child rape. Another case was that of Ganesh Chaitram who was sentenced to life imprisonment in absentia after he was found guilty of child rape with a female relative in 2016.“The eight matters Nolle Prosequi by the DPP were for sexual offences. The complainants in these matters indicated in written statements they did not wish to proceed with their matters,” the DPP statement pointed out.BerbiceIn Berbice, Justice Sandil Kissoon first sat from January and closed the October Assizes and then opened the February 2018 Assizes. There were 21 matters heard in the county of which seven were for the offence of murder, 11 others were for sexual offences and three other cases for the offence of attempt to commit murder.“In four of the murder trials, the accused all pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and were respectively sentenced to 15 years imprisonment, 12 years imprisonment, 25 years imprisonment and 15 years imprisonment,” the statement noted.EssequiboMeanwhile, the Essequibo Criminal Assizes commenced on February 20, where 62 matters were listed to be heard. Seven matters have been presented and prosecuted – one was for the offence of murder in which the accused pleaded guilty to the lesser offence of manslaughter and was sentenced to 20 years imprisonment. In one other matter for the offence of manslaughter, the accused pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 25 years imprisonment.The five other matters were for sexual offences; in two of these five matters, the accused were respectively sentenced to 35 years and 25 years imprisonment for rape of a child under 16 years. Justice Margaret Kurtzious presided in Essequibo.