Bail denied for gun charges

Bail was withheld for Norman Allen Clarke, 31, when he appeared in Summary Court on Monday charged with possession of an unlicensed .38 revolver and three rounds of .38 ammunition.

The charges arise from an incident at McField Square in George Town around 1.30am on Sunday, 7 October. Clarke is also charged with two counts of common assault and one of assault causing actual bodily harm.

In applying for bail, Defence Attorney David McGrath told the court that Clarke had been stabbed in the incident leading to his arrest. He underwent surgery and was in hospital several days before being transferred to Central Police Station.

Clarke has a perforated lung and was using what Mr. McGrath described as a primitive breathing apparatus issued by the hospital to help him breathe. The defendant carried the handheld device into the dock with him and blew into it periodically.

Mr. McGrath said the charges were denied. There will be a trial in Grand Court. Given the court’s schedule., ‘we’re looking at June or July next year if he’s lucky.’

Crown Counsel Jenesha Bhoorasingh objected to bail. She pointed out that the Bail Law has been amended so that persons accused of firearms offences are not entitled to bail as of right. She referred to Clarke’s antecedent history.

There were witnesses to the alleged offences on 2 October, Ms Bhoorasingh said. According to the witnesses, Clarke was having a fight with another individual. He was in possession of the firearm, but during the altercation it fell and separated into two pieces. Clarke subsequently walked off.

One of the complainants recovered the barrel of the gun and took it to the police station. It had one round of ammunition in it. Police went to the scene of the fight and found two more rounds of .38 ammunition, Ms Bhoorasingh said.

Acting magistrate Valdis Foldats asked if identification would be an issue. Ms Bhoorasingh said no, because the primary complainant knows Clarke quite well.

Mr. McGrath said it was Clarke who had been attacked by two individuals. He suggested that strict conditions could be put in place to answer any concern that Clarke might commit a further offence, fail to attend court or interfere with the course of justice – the usual grounds on which bail is denied.

He emphasised that there was no forensic evidence linking Clarke to the gun. Police had gone to his home and had found nothing.

Ms Bhoorasingh said the gun had been sent off for testing and results would be known in two or three weeks.

Mr. Foldats set the matter for mention again on 6 November. He said the application for bail could be renewed then, pending results of scientific tests. He hoped the crown would make efforts to have the evidence at hand.