By MELISSA WONG
THE DEFENCE finished examining its only witness yesterday in the preliminary inquiry into charges laid against Jamaat-al-Muslimeen leader Yasin Abu Bakr, as Islamic scholar and Arabic teacher, Abdul Salam of Cunupia, Lot 32, returned to continue giving evidence.
Bakr, also called Lennox Phillips, of La Puerta Road, Diego Martin, is before Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls in the Port-of-Spain Eighth Magistratesí Court facing charges of sedition, terrorism, endeavouring to provoke the breach of peace and two counts of incitement to demand property by force.
Defence attorney Pamela Elder SC continued her examination with the use of a videotape of the sermon which Bakr gave during Eid celebrations at the Jamaat Mosque in Mucurapo on November 4, 2005.
The television was turned away from the media and members of the public to be shown to Salam. The tape was fast forwarded several times and only certain excerpts were played for Salam. He was asked by Elder to translate into English certain Arabic terms which were said by Bakr during the sermon.
State prosecutor Douglas Mendes SC, who also held for attorney Dana Seetahal, reserved cross-examination. Elder then told Mc Nicolls the defence had no further witnesses to call in the inquiry. Senior Counsel Theodore Guerra told Mc Nicolls that based on the evidence that was given by Salam, he would make a further submission on Thursday.
Also appearing before Mc Nicolls were the two teenagers, Tahir Ali and Olugemia Abdul Basit, who were jointly charged with Bakr with the possession of a high-powered sniper rifle, 565 rounds of ammunition and a hand grenade, which was found on November 10 at the Jamaatís Mucurapo compound.
Attorney Leon Gokool, who represents both of the accused, said the prosecution had apparently forgotten him in the case. "The prosecution has never been here to give the analyst report and my clients are still in custody. I would like to know when the matter would be set for trial because I am ready, I have always been ready," said Gokool.
Guerra also responded that since this was a separate matter, the prosecution should have been ready. Mendes told Mc Nicolls that it was stated a long time ago that the matter would wait until the conclusion of Bakrís preliminary inquiry. "There is yet no material to be disclosed by the State, so obviously when it is ready it will be made available to Gokool," said Mendes.
Attorneys Owen Hinds Jr and Richard Mason appeared with Elder for Bakr. All three men were remanded into custody and will reappear on January 19.
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