BY INDARJIT SEURAJ
Tuesday 22nd November, 2005
Attorneys defending Jamaat al Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr and two followers Oluyemi Abdul Basit and Taheer Ali expressed their eagerness to proceed with the preliminary inquiry into gun charges.
The accused are before Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls charged with the unlawful possession of a firearm (a high-powered rifle), 569 rounds of ammunition and prohibited weapon (a hand grenade), after a raid at the Jamaat’s Mucurapo Road, St James compound.
Lead prosecutor Douglas Mendes, SC, requested a ten-day adjournment to prepare for the start of the inquiry, as the forensic reports of the firearms had not been returned to the prosecution as yet.
But Senior Counsel Pamela Elder, leading the defence team of Theodore Guerra, SC, Owen Hinds Jr and Richard Mason, objected to Mendes’ request, saying the defence would not consent to an adjournment longer than seven days.
"We cannot hold back the inquiry because of the unavailability of the forensic report," Elder said.
Mc Nicolls ordered that the matter be heard today.
Leon Gookool, attorney for Basit, 22, and Ali, 19, requested that a copy of the search warrant used on the Mucurapo premises be disclosed to the defence.
He also asked for a copy of a report made by his clients that they had been beaten by police and soldiers, the names of those people and the medical certificates for treatment at hospital.
"This will be the basis for our defence," Gookool said.
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