A farmer, who police accused of trafficking marijuana, was yesterday refused bail when he appeared in a city court despite his complete denial of the charge.
Leroy Gunpat, 22, of St. Cuthbert’s Mission, was charged with being in possession of 500 grammes of cannabis for the purpose of trafficking at Millie’s Hideout, Soesdyke-Linden Highway.
Gunpat’s attorney, Latchmie Rahamat, told the court that her client was innocent of the charge levelled against him since the police had no evidence to show the drugs belonged to him.
The accused, who is the father of a one-month-old baby, has no criminal record nor any pending matter before the court, the lawyer also said.
Rahamat said that Gunpat was on his way home with other relatives in a vehicle when they stopped upon encountering a broken down police vehicle on the road to St. Cuthbert’s Mission. She noted that four men were travelling in the car and none of them admitted knowledge of the drug, which was found some 15 feet away from the car.
Rahamat argued that it was a waste of judicial time having her client before the court and she expressed confidence that the police could not find evidence to prove her client guilty except if it were fabricated. Further the attorney said that her client was forced by the police to give statements. “The police cannot prove a case in this matter unless it is fabricated… these are humble people who are farmers, your worship,” the attorney stated, while she pleaded for her client’s pre-trial liberty.
The attorney further sought the court’s consideration for Gunpat who she said wasn’t even given a chance to shower and was wearing the same clothes since his arrest.
However, Prosecutor Michael Grant objected to bail. He said that although Gunpat did not admit knowledge of the marijuana when he was arrested, he allegedly admitted to police in Georgetown to throwing the bag the drugs were found in out of the car.
Additionally, Grant said that advice was given from the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), based on the admissions of the accused, to file charges against him.
Listening to the prosecutor’s submissions from the prisoners’ dock, Gunpat continually shook his head as if to cast doubt of the police’s version of events.
Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry upheld Grant’s objection and Gunpat was remanded to prison until February 24, when he will appear at the Linden Magistrate’s Court.
The police had said in a press release on Monday that a motor vehicle was searched along a trail and 550 grammes of marijuana were found while four men were arrested.
The arrest of the four men came after a drug eradication operation on Saturday involving ranks of the Police Narcotics Branch and the Guyana Defence Force, with the use of a helicopter, in the Millie’s Hideout area along the Soesdyke/Linden Highway.
The other three men have since been released while the charge was brought against Gunpat.