Brazilian pilot arrested near illegal mining camp refused bail; Magistrate insists all witnesses “must” be summoned for trial

Last Updated on Monday, 27 February 2023, 12:55 by Denis Chabrol

Alexander Felix

A Brazilian pilot, who allegedly landed a helicopter near an illegal mining camp in at Aishalton, Rupununi, on Monday pleaded not guilty and was remanded to prison until his trial next month.

Speaking through a Guyana Defence Force (GDF) interpreter, Pilot Alexander Felix pleaded not guilty to the three aviation charges- operating a civilian aircraft without an Airworthiness Certificate, without insurance, interfered with an aircraft by modifying the fuel tank so that the helicopter could be refuelled during flight. He is accused of committing those offences on February 20, 2023.

Mr Felix,54, was also charged with entering Guyana by air at Aishalton on February 20, 2023 and disembarked without the consent of an immigration officer.

Lethem Magistrate Allan Wilson insisted that all seven of the prosecution’s witnesses must be present for the two-day trial scheduled for March 16 and 17, 2023 at 10 AM. “All witnesses must be summoned, all,” he said.

He also ordered that the prosecution disclose its evidence to Defence Attorney, Kezia Hinds on March 13, 2023.

Ms Hinds, in her bail application, told the court that Mr Felix, a pilot by profession,  never appeared in court in Guyana or Brazil. She said he is married and has two children. The lawyer added that the Brazilian pilot resides at 40 ‘CC’ Eccles, East Bank Demerara whenever he is in Guyana. “My client will appear before the court on every occasion when he is required, please, to answer the charges laid against him,” she told the Court.

Ricardo Brags Silva

But Prosecutor, Assistant Superintendent Pindar-Whittaker’s objection to bail was upheld by the Magistrate. The Prosecutor said Mr Felix is a foreign national, has no ties to Guyana and the aviation offences for which he has been charged are “serious” and the penalties are GY$3 million each along with jail terms. “The prosecution believes that should the defendant be granted bail in respect of the offences that are before this court, he would not attend to return to the court to answer to the charges,” she said.

Meanwhile, Brazilian gold miner Ricardo Brags Silva, 29, of Rua Laranjeira, Apartment 104 Bloco: 08, Belém, Brazil was charged with entering Guyana by air at Aishalton and disembarking without the consent of an immigration officer. He pleaded not guilty and was remanded to prison by Magistrate Wilson until March 16, 2023.

He was unrepresented.