A lawyer representing a Cuban man, accused of being in possession of two protected macaws, is questioning an almost six-month daily in processing bail for his client.
Attorney Richard Jaggasar, who is representing Reinaldo Garcia Disotaur, raised the issue in a letter sent to acting Police Commissioner McDonald Jacob, late last month.
In the letter, obtained by Guardian Media, Jaggasar claimed that his client was arrested on August 23, 2021, when police officers and game wardens executed a search warrant for arms and ammunition at a farm in Felicity, Chaguanas, where he was employed.
During the search of the farmhouse, the officers allegedly found a pair of blue and gold macaws and arrested Disotaur and his Venezuelan co-worker, who were both working in a field.
After spending almost three weeks in police custody, the duo made their first court appearance before Magistrate Duane Murray on September 16, 2021.
Jaggasar pointed out the police officers, who charged the duo, failed to present their criminal record tracing and a summary of the evidence against them during the first hearing.
When the duo reappeared before Murray a week later, Disotaur’s co-worker pleaded guilty to being in possession of a protected animal in contravention of the Conservation of Wildlife Act and was fined $2,000.
Disotaur pleaded not guilty and was granted $15,000 bail.
Jaggasar claimed that while Disotaur’s relatives provided documents to the Registrar of the Chaguanas Magistrate’s Court to have his bail approved, they did not receive any feedback.
He also claimed that his client was absent for several virtual hearings of the case before he appeared virtually from the Immigration Detention Centre in Aripo during a hearing before Murray on February 11.
In the letter, which was also sent to the Judiciary, the Immigration Division, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), and the Commissioner of Prisons, Jaggasar claimed that his client’s constitutional rights were infringed by the delay.
“Certainly those state agencies cannot delay or deny bail by delaying to process documents or by making it difficult to process bail bonds. Such discretion would be unconstitutional and immoral,” Jaggasar said.
Jaggasar called for an investigation into what transpired with his client and threatened to file a lawsuit if the issue was not addressed.
When Disotaur reappeared before Magistrate Murray yesterday morning, an official of the Immigration Division, who was present, claimed that a detention order was issued to him shortly after he was granted bail.
Jaggasar requested a written copy of the order as he claimed that his client was never informed of the order or served with it.
During the hearing, Murray indicated that the court’s records showed that the order was issued on October 9, before being reversed two days later.
Magistrate Murray set a trial date of March 14.