A businessman has been granted $475,000 bail after appearing in court on firearm and drug possession charges.
Michael Patrick Aboud, 38, of Cypress Boulevard, San Fernando, appeared before Magistrate Aden Stroude in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court, yesterday, to answer five criminal charges.
Aboud, who operates a clothing store in downtown Port-of-Spain, was charged with possession of two pieces of apparatus modified for cocaine consumption; possession of three marijuana cigarettes and for possession of a 9 mm firearm and 15 rounds of ammunition.
Aboud pleaded not guilty to the drug charges but was not called upon to plead to the firearm and ammunition charges as he elected to have those heard in the High Court before a judge as opposed to having them continue before Stroude.
The illegal items were allegedly found as officers of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT), led by Police Commissioner Gary Griffith, executed a search warrant at a residential property at Alexandria Street in St Clair, owned by Aboud’s family, last Friday.
During the hearing, police prosecutor Sgt Azard Ali said that Aboud did not fall under the provisions of the Bail Amendment Act, which precludes bail to repeat offenders charged firearm offences.
Ali explained that Aboud’s criminal record tracing showed that he had two pending cases from 1998 for resisting arrest and using obscene language and another from 2017 for drunk driving.
After making further checks in the court’s computer database, Ali informed Stroude that Aboud had additional charges from last year for assault occasioning actual bodily harm and for choking with intent.
Responding to Ali, Aboud’s lawyer Fareed Ali (no relation) asked that the court not place much emphasis on the charges from 1998 as they occurred when he was a teenager.
Ali also claimed that Aboud was placed on a bond after he was convicted of the driving offence.
“It is not a pattern of behaviour. He intends to litigate the matter and has no intention to flee,” Ali said. He also noted that Aboud had to be taken to the Port-of-Spain General Hospital for treatment, several times during his stint in police custody.
As part of the conditions of his bail, Aboud was ordered to report to the San Fernando Police Station three times a week for the duration of his case.
Ali then sought to convince Stroude to vary his order as he claimed that his client would have difficulty in accessing the bail as he did not own property.
Stroude denied the request as he assured Ali he would consider the application if Aboud does not access bail by the next hearing.
Before adjourning the case to December 4, Stroude gave police prosecutors and investigators deadlines for disclosing witness statements to Aboud’s lawyer and to submit the illegal items to the Forensic Science Centre in St James for testing.
Aboud was expected to spend the night on remand as the hearing concluded a short time before the court was scheduled to close for the day.
Reporter: Derek Achong