Start of PI delayed in Bel Air $7M heist

-prosecution requests more time to seek legal advice

The seven persons accused in the $7M Bel Air Gardens heist were yesterday further remanded to prison by acting Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry after  the prosecution requested  more time to seek legal advice.

The acting chief magistrate  expressed her disappointment at the application made by the prosecution to adjourn the commencement of the Preliminary Inquiry (PI). She stated that she will consider her position if there is any further delay.

The lawyers representing Chandraradha Rampersaud, Shawn Hinds, Jermaine Mitchell, Rabindranaught Seemangal, Aubrey Simon, Rayon Jones and Hardat Kumar renewed their applications for bail when their clients made another appearance at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

But all bail applications were denied by the magistrate who cited the serious nature and gravity of the offence.

The lawyers representing the seven accused expressed  disgust at the adjournment, noting that the prosecution was requesting an adjournment in a matter where persons are all incarcerated and ready to go. They also said that the court should frown upon the practice of having its order disobeyed.   “The prosecution had two months to get their acts together and they haven’t brought not one witness to court,” one attorney said.

The attorney representing Simon asked that the court provide the applicant with the opportunity to continue his studies while at the same time answering to his charge. He further stated that if the court finds it fit to impose a conditionality, the accused is willing to report to police headquarters and lodge his passport if he is placed on bail.

The allegation against the accused is that on July 12, at Bel Air Gardens, being armed with a gun, they robbed Annie Ramsood of $1.4M and US$29,000 (equivalent to $5.8M), totalling $7.2M.

Additionally, being armed with a gun, they were all further accused of robbing Ramsood of a Blackberry cell phone and a quantity of cash, totalling $427,000. The jointly-charged defendants were not required to plead to the two indictable charges of armed robbery. In addition, Mitchell, Simon, Hinds and Seemangal were arraigned for having in their possession eight rounds of 9mm ammunition and one 9mm pistol without being the holders of firearm and ammunition licences in force at the time. The jointly-charged quartet has denied these charges.

Finally, Simon is also accused of attaching a false number plate to a vehicle. Simon denied that on July 12 he had a false ID number plate, being PKK 3700, on a motor vehicle, knowing same to be false.

Jones was placed on $300,000 bail while Shawn Hinds was placed on $100,000 bail for each of the offences from the High Court. The matter is adjourned until September 27.

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