(Guyana) Magistrate Sunil Scarce on Monday adjourned to July 5, the case against a 15-year-old girl in Guyana, charged with 19 counts of murder arising from last week’s fire at the dormitory of the Mahdia Secondary School.
The teenager, who is also a student of the school, was not required to enter a plea to the indictable charge when she appeared at the Diamond Magistrate’s Court, via Zoom.
The teenager is accused of setting fire to the dormitory last Monday resulting in the deaths of 18 fellow students between the ages of 12 to 17 and a five-year-old boy.
Guyanese law prohibits the naming of juvenile accused persons or convicts. But it allows for her to be charged with murder since she is older than 14 years.
When the matter resumes on July 5, it will be for statement and disclosure.
The dormitory housed female students from Mahdia, Campbelltown, Micobie, El Paso and several other villages in the North Pakaraimas in Region 8
Last Friday, the government said the authorities would release the bodies of 13 of the girls after it received DNA results matching their names not previously visually identified.
The samples from the forensic specimens were obtained from the 13 bodies by a Specialist Pathologist through a bilateral arrangement between Guyana and Barbados while another forensic specimen was obtained from a young boy and was taken by Guyanese Pathologist, Dr Nehaul Singh. These specimens (obtained) were compared to DNA samples taken from parents and siblings.
The government said it would also be providing assistance and support to all families for funerals.
President Irfaan Ali has already announced that a Commission of Inquiry will “investigate the causes and circumstances of the fire which destroyed the dormitory and to enquire into related issues.”
Opposition Leader Aubrey Norton, while welcoming the government’s announcement, said that “such a commission must be independent and comprise persons who have the respect of all stakeholders so that the findings are credible and acceptable to all”.