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UPDATE: Trial finally set for four in drug & gun matter

Chaim Todman (left) and Shaun Williams, two of the four accused of gun and cannabis possession. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – The trial is expected to finally begin after more than a year for the four men accused of being in possession of drugs and guns in April 2012.

The matter for the four accused, Mustafa Claxton, 27, of Free Bottom; Jose Miguel Christopher, 29, of Long Look; Shaun Williams, 32, of Purcell Estate and Chaim Todman, 33, of Johnson's Ghut was previously set for trial when Senior Crown Counsel Sarah Benjamin had represented the prosecution on October 19, 2012.

When the matter came up for report on April 26, 2013 it was revealed by Crown Counsel Leslie-Ann Faulkner that all the attorneys had full disclosure in the matter and the Crown was now ready to proceed in the matter.

Several hiccups had delayed the start of trial previously including issues related to who had conduct of the matter in the office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), in addition to delays with the testing of the material evidence involved.

The men are charged with a number of offences, including alleged unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, unlawful importation of a firearm and ammunition, conspiracy to import, importation and unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to supply. They have all pleaded not guilty.

According to court records, on April 15, 2012, Police observed four men dis-embarking a power boat moored at Shepherds Marina, Frenchman Cay. Four males were allegedly collected by Chaim Todman.

A short distance away Police carried a stop and search of the vehicle. One of the men exited the vehicle and escaped. The three passengers were identified by Police as being the occupants of the boat.

A search of the vehicle allegedly uncovered a Glock 40 handgun containing 14 rounds of ammunition and three packages containing a total 260 grams of marijuana. Christopher was also allegedly found to be in possession of 10 grams of marijuana.

Chaim Todman will now be represented by attorney at law Richard Rowe at the trial. It was also noted that Mustafa Claxton, another of the defendants, needed to sort out his representation since attorney Herbert McKenzie is no longer representing him.

The men, who are all on bail, are now expected to face trial on July 4, 2013.

See previous story posted November 7, 2012:

Crown awaiting test results in drug & gun seizure trial 

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Crown Counsel Leslie-Ann Faulkner has announced that the Crown is now ready to settle on a trial date for four men accused of drug and gun possession once results have been received on some items sent to be tested.

The matter for the four accused, Mustafa Claxton, 26, of Free Bottom; Jose Miguel Christopher, 28, of Long Look; Shaun Williams, 31, of Purcell Estate and Chaim Todman, 32, of Johnson Ghut was previously set for trial when Senior Crown Counsel Sarah Benjamin had represented the prosecution on October 19, 2012.

The men are charged with a number of offences, including alleged unlawful possession of a firearm and ammunition, unlawful importation of a firearm and ammunition, conspiracy to import, importation and unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to supply. They have all pleaded not guilty.

Magistrate Tamia Richards was at the time heavily critical of the delays caused in the trial of the four men, citing the movement of files from desk to desk at the Director of Public Prosecution’s (DPP’s) office as being responsible for the delays.

hen the men appeared before the Magistrate’s Court on November 6, 2012 Crown Counsel Lesli-Ann Faulkner this time told the court that outstanding documents in the matter had since been received and disclosure was made to their attorneys.

The quartet was allegedly found with the illegal items on April 15, 2012 during a stop and search carried out on a blue Mitsubishi motor vehicle in the West End area. Attorney Patrick Thompson represented Williams and Christopher while attorney Herbert McKenzie represented Todman and Claxton.

Ms Benjamin had then related that a number of documents remained outstanding, including the albums for the case file and a statement from the officer involved in the matter. She also noted that the alleged firearm was yet to be tested and as a result the crown would not be ready to proceed on the matter at the time.

Ms Faulkner has now revealed to the court that DNA analysis of personal items found with the men remains the only outstanding aspect and these have now been sent off and confirmed as being received by the lab for testing.

She expressed that the court can now set a trial date once the material has been received in mid-December or early January.

Magistrate Tamia Richards then set January 22, 2013 as the new date for the trial to proceed.

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