Assam court holds 25 guilty in lynching of 73-yr-old tea garden doctor last year – cities

A court in Assam on Monday pronounced 25 people guilty in a case, where a mob had lynched a senior doctor around 13 months ago.

District and sessions judge Robin Phukan held 25 of the accused guilty for the murder of Dr Deben Dutta (73). The victim was the resident doctor of Teok Tea Estate (TE) hospital in Upper Assam’s Jorhat district.

The court acquitted six accused in the case, while another accused had died in judicial custody.

Also read: Two lynched, beheaded, set on fire over witchcraft suspicion in Assam

The quantum of punishment for the 25 accused will be announced next Monday (October 19).

An irate mob, mostly comprising tea garden workers, had assaulted Dr Dutta on August 31, 2019, holding him responsible for the death of a patient in Teok TE. He was rushed to the Jorhat Medical College, where he was declared brought dead.

The pictures of the assault, which soon went viral on social media, created a sense of terror among doctors posted in tea gardens across Assam.

At least seven doctors, who were working in tea gardens, had resigned within a week of Dr Dutta’s murder.

Police had arrested 32 people, including three brothers of the deceased patient, following the attack under various sections of Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Assam Medicare Service Persons & Medicare Service Institutions (Prevention of Violence and Damage to Property) Act, 2011.

The incident was condemned by Indian Medical Association (IMA) and doctors in Assam also resorted to a one-day token strike in protest.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had also ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Investigation into the case was concluded within a record time of 21 days and a voluminous 602-page charge sheet was submitted on September 21, 2019.

Assam Police said this is the first case in the country, where witness identity concealment approach was used.

A total of 60 people, including tea garden employees, journalists, the slain doctor’s family members, police personnel and forensic experts were named as witnesses.

Witness identity concealment approach was applied to seven of the 56, who had deposed during the trial of the case.

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Third trial ordered for New Zealand man found guilty of murdering Alberta wife in B.C.’s Interior

A third trial will be held for a former New Zealand man found guilty of the first-degree murder of his Canadian wife while the pair vacationed in B.C.’s Southern Interior 10 years ago.

British Columbia’s highest court says a new trial should be held for Peter Beckett because the trial judge was wrong to admit certain evidence and the Crown’s submissions to the jury were improper.

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Jail house snitch testifies in Kelowna trial of man accused of murdering his wife

Beckett, now in his mid-60s, was charged with the murder of his wife, Laura Letts of Alberta, when she drowned as the couple boated on Upper Arrow Lake near Revelstoke in August 2010.

The pair was on vacation from their home near Westlock, located about 85 kilometres north of Edmonton.

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Beckett’s first trial ended with a hung jury and his second trial concluded in 2017 with the guilty verdict.

Click to play video 'Closing arguments wrap up in Kelowna for man accused of drowning his wife'

Closing arguments wrap up in Kelowna for man accused of drowning his wife

Closing arguments wrap up in Kelowna for man accused of drowning his wife

But the B.C Court of Appeal says the finding was not completely unreasonable — so rather than order an acquittal, it has sent the matter for a third trial, with a date still to be determined.

© 2020 The Canadian Press

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Woman charged with sending ricin to the White House pleads not guilty, will be held without bail

A woman charged with making threats against President Trump by mailing a package containing ricin to the White House was ordered held without bail Monday by a judge in Buffalo who cited “a very strong case” against her based on an indictment in Washington, D.C.

Pascale Ferrier, 53, of a Montreal suburb, was arrested a week ago as she tried to enter the U.S. through a border crossing between Fort Erie, Ontario, and Buffalo. Her lawyer entered a not guilty plea on her behalf Monday.

U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. cited a long history of assassinations and attempted assassinations of U.S. presidents since the killing of President Abraham Lincoln in finding that Ferrier was an ongoing threat to the president and others.

He also read from a letter that prosecutors allege Ferrier wrote to Trump and included in the ricin-laden container, in which she allegedly threatened to find a more dangerous poison or to use her gun to stop him from his presidential campaign.

“It would appear to me the government has a very strong case, especially assuming the legal validity of the alleged admissions at the time of her arrest,” Schroeder said of the woman, who has French and Canadian citizenship.

He ordered her transfer to Washington to face the one-count indictment.

The envelope containing the toxic substance and the threatening letter was addressed to the White House but was intercepted at a mail sorting facility on September 18. No one was harmed.

Besides the letter’s threats was a command to Trump to “give up and remove our application for this election,” authorities said.

The FBI discovered that six additional similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas a few days earlier, according to a criminal complaint.

Her lawyer, Fonda Dawn Kubiak, argued that she should be granted bail. “As Ms. Ferrier sits here today, she is presumed innocent,” Kubiak said.

She called her client “highly educated” with the equivalent of a master’s degree in engineering in France and who was employed by an aircraft engineering company.

Kubiak said Ferrier could reside with her son in Quebec or possibly with family members in Texas.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Timothy Lynch said Ferrier was trying to enter the United States last week when an officer approached and asked if she was OK. “No, I’m wanted by the FBI for the ricin envelope,” he quoted her as responding.

He said authorities handcuffed her and searched her vehicle, in which they found a semiautomatic handgun loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, nearly 300 rounds of other ammunition, pepper spray, a knife and a stun gun.

“She was loaded for bear, Judge,” the prosecutor said.

He said that ricin had been located at her apartment outside Montreal and that she was likely to face additional charges in Washington, Texas and Buffalo.

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Canadian woman suspected of sending White House a ricin package pleads not guilty

A Canadian woman suspected of mailing a package containing ricin to the White House last week appeared in court Tuesday afternoon where she pleaded not guilty.

Pascale Ferrier, of Quebec, was arrested Sunday at the New York-Canada border on a charge of threatening the president. Her court appearance was brief and U.S. Magistrate Judge H. Kenneth Schroeder Jr. entered a not-guilty plea on her behalf.

This photo provided by the Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff's Office, showing the booking photo of Pascale Ferrier. 

This photo provided by the Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, showing the booking photo of Pascale Ferrier. 
(Hidalgo County (Texas) Sheriff’s Office, via AP)

Ferrier, who wore a tan jail jumpsuit, had her hands in cuffs and a chain around her waist. A blue mask covered much of her face as she spoke only briefly to answer the judge’s questions.

Through an interpreter and her attorney, she also asked for an identity hearing — which would compel the government to prove that she is indeed the person for whom the arrest warrant was issued — and a probable cause hearing for the government to prove there is sufficient cause to proceed in the case. The judge ordered her held without bail.


Her attorney, Fonda Kubiak, said Ferrier was exercising her rights to those hearings, which were scheduled for Monday.

“She has a presumption of innocence and that’ll be pursued further after today,” Kubiak said outside the courthouse.

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer walks outside of an apartment complex Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in St-Hubert, Quebec, during a raid in connection with an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House. 

A Royal Canadian Mounted Police officer walks outside of an apartment complex Monday, Sept. 21, 2020, in St-Hubert, Quebec, during a raid in connection with an envelope containing the poison ricin, which was addressed to the White House. 
(The Canadian Press via AP)

The package, postmarked from Canada and addressed to the White House, was sent sometime last week and intercepted at a mail sorting facility on Friday. It included a letter that included disparaging remarks about the president, according to an FBI affidavit filed in the case.

During the investigation, the FBI discovered that six additional similar letters appeared to have been received in Texas in September and also had stamps indicating that they’d been mailed from Canada, according to court papers.

Those letters “contained similar language” to the letter that was sent to Trump and were sent to people affiliated with facilities where Ferrier had been jailed in 2019.

Investigators also matched Ferrier’s fingerprints from four of the letters, the complaint said. In Facebook and Twitter posts in September, Ferrier also wrote threatening messages against the president and used similar wording as she did in the letter, according to the document.


When she was arrested Sunday while trying to enter a border crossing in Buffalo, Ferrier told Customs and Border Patrol agents that she was “wanted by the FBI for the ricin letters,” the complaint said. Officers found a loaded gun in her waistband and said she was also carrying a knife.

Ferrier was booked into the Hidalgo County jail in March of 2019

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Kitchen Cleaning Mistakes You Are Probably Guilty Of

As it is named the heart and soul of your home, the kitchen needs constant cleaning attention. There is no other way around it, as that is where you prepare your food and thus the general hygiene demands are higher.

However, even when you wish the best for your kitchen, you can make some mistakes that are a setback to your best intentions for this room. It is essential to recognise these and try to prevent them the next time you get to cleaning:

You skip cleaning knobs and handles – it is only normal to focus your attention on kitchen surfaces as these take the most of the space in the room. However, you must not forget to wipe all knobs and handles. Since these are areas you frequently touch without washing your hands, it is important to clean and disinfect them properly. Wipe them with an antibacterial solution to limit the transfer of bacteria. Don’t forget about microwave buttons and small appliance handles.

You are struggling with bottles and jars – cleaning various bottles and jars could be a real pain when all you have got is a sponge. However, there is an easy way to tackle the job with rice. Put a small amount of rice in the bottle/jar, add some washing up liquid and fill with warm water. Place the lid and shake it well. Rice serves as an abrasive, getting to all the places your sponge fails to.

You skip cleaning the cooker hood – ‘out of sight, out of mind’ applies in full force when it comes to cleaning the oven hood. Even if you are no cooking enthusiast, dust will accumulate there. Keep in mind that this item sucks up the excess grease from the cooking vapours. Over time it becomes clogged. Check with your manufacturer on how to best address this item.

You don’t clean chopping boards – wooden boards quickly become a host to countless germs and bacteria. Simple washing won’t do, as food residue tends to seep into the wood grain and thus contribute to bacteria growth. You can use salt over the board and sanitise them by rubbing half a lemon.

You don’t wear gloves – using various chemicals around the kitchen, whether it be for cleaning the room or washing the dishes takes a toll on your hands. Avoid skin problems by simply wearing gloves. It takes but a second to don them. You can use multi-use gloves, so you don’t need to worry about constant expenses.

You overload the dishwasher – don’t think that overloading the dishwasher is a smart thing to do, even if it feels like it is saving you some time. That way dishes will not come out as clean as you’d like them. Alternate placing spoons with handles up and down for thorough cleaning.

You use a single sponge for all tasks – bacteria from surfaces tend to cling onto the sponge you use to clean. That is why you should keep several …

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