Tiger Creek couple remanded on firearm, drugs charges

A man and a woman accused of having an unlicensed firearm and a quantity of ammunition as well as cannabis and cocaine in their possession at Tiger Creek, Essequibo, were yesterday both remanded to prison when they appeared before Magistrate Fazil Azeez.

The allegation is that on October 30 at Tiger Creek, Essequibo,  Kurt Mason, 33, and Shunette Eastman, 24,  had in their possession one Colt .45 semi-automatic pistol without licence and 17 live rounds of .45 ammunition without licence.

On the same day also Mason and Eastman are accused of having in their possession 22 grams of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking. The two are also alleged to have had in their possession 450 grams of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking.
The jointly charged duo, who reside at 535 Canvas City, Linden pleaded not guilty to the charges when they were read to them at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

Attorney-at-law Trenton Lake who represented the defendants told the court that his clients were wrongfully charged for an offence they have “absolutely no knowledge” of. He said that in fact the two were actually the victims of a raid conducted by the police.

Lake, in his address to the court, said that his clients operate a shop in the Tiger Creek area. According to the lawyer, on the day in question the police conducted a raid on the shop which was occupied by a number of patrons at the time.

After the raid, Lake said that the police found the articles stated in the charge but the items did not belong to his clients. The attorney reiterated that “a number of other persons were at the shop at the time as well.”

Lake said further that his clients tried to explain to the police that the items were not theirs, but this was not considered as they were still charged.

After presenting his case to the court Lake made an application for his clients to be admitted to reasonable bail, citing that they have no antecedents, pose no risk of flight, and have fixed addresses.

In presenting the facts of the case, however, Prosecutor Lionel Harvey told the court that the police, acting on certain information, conducted a raid at the shop when the items in question were found in the defendants’ kitchen and bedroom at the said location.

According to Harvey, the police were allowed access by the shop owners beyond the counter area and into the kitchen and bedroom where the items were found.  The prosecutor then said that Mason and Eastman provided caution statements admitting ownership of the firearm.

The prosecution objected to the bail application made by the attorney on the grounds that Lake failed to advance the necessary special circumstances needed to be presented in a bail application for the offences for which the defendants were charged.
After listening to the case, Magistrate Azeez granted the prosecution its request and the duo was denied their pretrial liberty. Their matters were then transferred to the Bartica Magistrate’s Court for December 1.

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