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A LA ROMAINE man who spent more than three decades in prison for the murder of his wife in 1991 saw freedom on Friday after a High Court judge resentenced him to time he had already served.
Amir Mowlah, 76, was before Justice Geoffrey Henderson, who encouraged him to return home to his two daughters and try to rebuild a relationship with them.
The judge also encouraged Mowlah to rebuild his relationship with society, saying “everyone makes mistakes” and Mowlah had paid for his.
“Go back in (society) and be an example of what a good man can be.”
The judge was tasked with imposing a new sentence after Mowlah’s death sentence was commuted to life in 2008, in keeping with several Privy Council rulings on the death penalty.
Mowlah was one of 23 former death-row inmates who had their sentences commuted to life and were entitled to be resentenced, in keeping with a recent Privy Council ruling.
In April, Henderson and Justice Ricky Rahim sought to determine which former death-row prisoners who had their sentences commuted to life were entitled to be resentenced.
Mowlah was one of them. He had been convicted in 1997 and sentenced to hang by then Justice Stanley John for the murder of his wife, Shaffina Mowlah, who he chopped 34 times at their home on February 2, 1991.
It was the State’s case, at his trial, that Mowlah, a labourer with Caroni (1975) Ltd, had been in an argument about an incident two months before and on the night of the killing, he was slapped and cuffed and pulled out a cutlass from under the bed, intending to planass his wife. Instead, he chopped her 34 times and threw the cutlass in a culvert close to his home. He then set up the scene to make it look as if an intruder had entered the house, and called the police.
He later confessed to the police because his conscience “keep bothering him.” In that statement, he said his wife had quarrelled and nagged him since 1972.
He also took police to the culvert and the cutlass was found.
His daughters, who were 14 and 20 at the time, supported his evidence that their parents quarrelled because their mother accused their father of having an extramarital affair. One of them said their parents’ relationship was normal until three or four months before her mother’s death. The other said her mother nagged her father daily about “the other woman.”
In his defence, Mowlah said his wife nagged him about relationships with two women and on the night of the incident, he lost control, but had never hit his wife before.
In submissions at the resentencing hearing, prosecutor Brandon Sookoo said it was the State’s position that Mowlah had already spent his time in prison.
Henderson started with a sentence of 32 years and gave him a one-year discount for his good behaviour while in prison, after which the 32 years and nine months he had spent incarcerated were deducted, leaving him with no more to serve.
Mowlah was represented by public defenders Michelle Ali and Axia Edwards.