Cousins accused of hiding gun used in Mandela Ave murder

Two cousins accused of receiving the gun which police say was used in the Mandela Avenue murder of Elvis Fernandes were yesterday remanded to prison.

The allegation against Jermaine Thomas, 23, and Gerome Success, 21, is that on July 26, at George-town, knowing that Lloyd Britton called “Lloyden Britton” had murdered Elvis Fernandes, they received a handgun from him and concealed it.

The young men were not required to plead to the indictable charge when it was read to them by Magistrate Judy Latchman, before whom they appeared.

Elvis Fernandes
Elvis Fernandes

Thomas, of 606 East Ruimveldt Housing Scheme and Success, a miner, of 454 East Ruimveldt Housing Scheme, were represented by attorney Dexter Todd, who made a stirring but unsuccessful appeal for them to retain their pre-trial liberty.

Todd said that according to his instructions, information was given to the police that Success received a bag from his cousin, Thomas. However, he questioned the merit of the charge levelled against his clients, after revealing that the firearm in question has not been recovered.

He added that neither of his clients has any knowledge of the murder, nor of what were the contents of the bag.  Additionally, he said that the men do not know who Britton is.

Todd also noted that more than one firearm was used in the matter, which creates some doubt at the outset of the case. He said that it would be difficult for the police to prove its case as they do not know which weapon was used.

Todd said that in the circumstances, it would be unfair to have the defendants incarcerated when the police themselves have no information about the alleged weapon used.

“I don’t see how the police have laid charges without this alleged gun,” Todd questioned.

This revelation prompted the court to ascertain from the prosecution if this was indeed the case; to which Prosecutor Vishnu Hunt responded in the affirmative.

Magistrate Latchman inquired if any warhead or spent shell was recovered which can show that a particular weapon was used in the alleged murder and that the accused may have had that specific weapon in their possession.  The court also inquired from the prosecution whether it had sought advice from the chambers of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

Hunt, in his response, said that oral and written statements had been given by the defendants detailing the respective roles they played as regards the incident. He said that Thomas was at the scene of the murder and that he had handed over the weapon to Success, after receiving it from Britton.

The prosecutor also said that advice had been given by the DPP.

After hearing submissions on both sides, the magistrate informed the men that they would be remanded to prison.

The case continues on September 5.

The police, in its only statement on the matter, said Fernandes became involved in an argument between a minibus driver and the driver of a car that he was in at the time. Police said he was shot to his chest by a passenger in the bus, who had begun discharging rounds from a firearm. A plain clothes policeman, who was making efforts to pacify the situation, responded and discharged a round from his service firearm which struck the armed man, the statement had said, adding that that the armed man re-entered the mini-bus and was taken to the Georgetown Hospital by the driver. The injured man, Britton, 20, of Beterverwagting, East Coast Demerara, is a patient of the Georgetown Hospital. He has denied that he was armed at the time of the shooting and has alleged that it was the policeman who discharged three rounds at the bus and Fernandes was hit by one of the bullets.

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