Buddy’s fuel trial

Guyana Energy Agency (GEA) prosecutor Anil Nandlall laid over his written response to the defence no-case submissions, as the Buddy’s fuel trial continued at the Providence Magistrate’s Court on Wednesday.

On the last occasion, the defence had made no-case submissions and Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry, who is hearing the matter, had set Wednesday for a response by the prosecution.

On trial are Deonarine Singh of 104 Collingswood, Nandy Park, EBD; Wazir Mohamed of 28 North Road, Bourda; Clement Huntley of 39 Wisroc, Linden; Fitzgerald London of 494 Canvas City, Linden; Sanicharran Ramgolam of Number 64 Village, Corentyne; Ceezann Vandelwin of the Pomeroon River; Errol Prince of 43 Garnett Street, Kitty; Joseph Allen of Diamond Squatting Area, EBD; Ramsahai Basdeo of Lot 101 Cornelia New Housing Scheme and Osbern Richards of Supenaam, Essequibo Coast, who were jointly charged with possession of fuel without the relevant marking in the right proportion and possession of illegal fuel in a quantity exceeding 2,000 litres without a licence. Appearing for the defendants are attorneys-at-law Vic Puran and Glen Hanoman.

Nandlall, in handing over his written response raised several points stating that most of the arguments raised by the defence are not arguments that can properly be advanced as no-case submissions. Citing several authorities he stated that they all laid down grounds upon which no-case submissions are made and declared that he did not know under which authority the defence counsel’s submissions fall. He said that of the five points raised by the defence, three of those ought not to be made at the no-case submission stage. He asserted that those submissions should have been raised at the beginning of the trial or can be raised at the closing stages. Nandlall, stating that “sufficiency of evidence” is all that is required at this stage, declared that “we have discharged that function. He said that even the questions asked under cross-examination placed the defendants on the scene. “It is part of their (the defence) case that the men were in the compound”, he declared.

After noting several other points, Nandlall called upon the magistrate to ask the defendants to lead a defence. “The evidence which the prosecution has led remains basically unchallenged and therefore the defendants must be called upon to lead a defence”, he asserted.

After laying over his response the case was put off for November 14 for a reply by the defence.

It has been over two years since the alleged illegal fuel was discovered in a GEA operation. The agency said that acting on information received officials visited the Buddy’s Farm around 10 pm on September 27, 2005. When they arrived, the ten defendants were seen offloading fuel from a trawler named Ashley S into drums. A fuel tanker, it is alleged, was already filled. Tests were carried out on the said fuel and it was allegedly found to be illegal. The men were subsequently arrested and charged. The trial of the ten accused and the trial of businessman Omprakash `Buddy’ Shivraj on whose property the alleged illegal fuel was found, have been merged.

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