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Chief Justice criticised for granting bail to drugs, ammo accused

In the wake of the High Court granting bail to several persons for drugs and weapons offences, a senior law enforcement officer Saturday raised serious concerns about the justice system.

A man accused of attempting to import several rifles, handguns and ammunition has been also granted bail in recent times by the High Court.

But Chief Justice Ian Chang’s decisions to grant those persons their pre-trial liberty have not gone down well with a top official of the Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity.

“What are you saying to law enforcement? You catch a big fish and they get bail. It is just not motivating,” said the senior anti-drug agent. “Are we doing our job or are we making people rich?” he queried.

The CANU official’s position came against the background of three persons who are accused of cocaine trafficking having been granted more than GUY$12 million bail by the High Court.

Chang on Friday granted Barry Dataram, Trevor Gouveia and Komal Charran GUY$4 million bail each. Dataram was also granted an additional GUY$400,000 bail for the alleged possession of arms and ammunition.

His wife, 19-year old Anjanie Budnarine has been previously granted bail.

The quartet was arrested on April 16, 2015 at 661 Fourth Avenue, Diamond, East Bank Demerara after Customs Anti-Narcotics Unit (CANU) agents allegedly found 129.230 kilogrammes of cocaine at the house. Some of the illicit drug was in frozen seafood.

Dataram several years ago avoided extradition after his lawyers convinced the court about a technicality

Separately, the Chief Justice also granted Colin Clyde Prescott GUY$10 million bail. He is charged with cocaine possession after CANU agents said they found 178 kilogrammes of cocaine concealed in a consignment of charcoal. The cocaine-in-charcoal was allegedly found on March 30 at Silver Hill, Linden-Soesdyke Highway shortly before it was about to leave for the United States (US).

Also granted GUY$1.2 million bail in recent times is the man who was arrested and charged recently in connection with the arms and ammo bust at a city wharf on May 8, 2015.

The items were two AK 47 Rifles, four  .40 pistols, eleven 9mm. pistols, fifteen extra magazines for the firearms, 489 various caliber rounds for the firearms and a body protection vest.