The police constable accused of stealing three firearm holsters and two bulletproof vests from the Couva Police Station has been granted $50,000 bail.
Marlon Baptiste, 22, who has one year service, appeared before Couva Magistrate Suimongal Ramsaran charged with three larceny offences yesterday. He pleaded not guilty to stealing the holsters, but he was not asked to plead to two charges of stealing the bulletproof vests. The charges alleged he stole the items belonging to the service between December 2016 and January.
Baptiste was arrested on January 29 after Princes Town CID officers stopped a Mazda pick-up with three occupants along Ramlal Trace, Barrackpore. It is alleged that Baptiste was in possession of the two bulletproof vests, each valued at $5,000, which went missing from the station in 2016 and 2018. It is alleged that during a subsequent search of Baptiste’s Penal home the police found three holsters, valued at $675, with the markings ‘Couva TTPS’ on them. The holsters were discovered missing during an inventory check at the station last month.
The two other occupants were released after the police found nothing illegal at their homes.
Baptiste, who was on probation at the time of his arrest, was charged by Insp Rudolph Bhagwandeen on Thursday. He was subsequently granted bail by a justice of the peace at the station.
Noting that Baptiste was granted $20,000 bail each on two of the charges and $10,000 on the third charge, the magistrate yesterday requested to see the bailer to inquire his financial status and whether he had met the bail requirements. Ramsaran also requested that the matter be dealt with expeditiously given the nature of the charges.
Prosecutor Sgt Lincoln Bonnett said the file had to be sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions for a state attorney to be appointed. Saying he would not entertain the matter staying before his court for three or four years, Ramsaran said the DPP should treat the matter with importance. Rejecting a request for the exhibits to be returned to the police, the magistrate said if the police need these items “then we in a bad way.”
Source: www.guardian.co.tt (Sascha Wilson)