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A&V Drilling CEO, son-in-law in court

Published: 
Saturday, November 11, 2017
Cpl Billy Ramsundar, following his court appearance yesterday.

A&V Oil & Gas Ltd CEO Hannif Nazim Baksh and his son-in-law Cpl Billy Ramsundar yesterday appeared before a Siparia magistrate charged with assaulting Guardian Media Ltd’s senior photographer Kristian De Silva.

Although Ramsundar raved about his innocence outside the courtroom, Baksh was calm and seemed unperturbed by his predicament.

Baksh is the father of Government Senator Allyson Baksh, who is married to Ramsundar, a lawman with 25 years’ service.

The accused were charged on Wednesday and Thursday at the Besson Street Police Station, following seven and a half weeks of investigation by Supt Ruthven Hodge of the Police Complaints Division.

The accused were supposed to appear together before Magistrate Ava Vandenburg-Bailey in the Siparia Second Court. However, when the matter was called Baksh’s documents had not yet to reached the court. It took almost three hours before it was delivered to Hunte, who then passed it on to court staff.

When Ramsundar’s matter was called, Vandenburg-Bailey asked for De Silva or a representative of Guardian Media Ltd, but the prosecution said neither were present.

She asked whether there was any disclosure in the matter and prosecutor Sgt Starr Jacob said the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions will assign a prosecutor and at the next hearing they will be able to advise the court.

Vandenburg-Bailey then read the charge that on September 15, 2017, at Nazim Avenue, San Francique, Ramsundar assaulted De Silva occasioning actual bodily harm. Also on the same day, he maliciously damaged De Silva’s Canon DSLR camera valued at US$1,600. He was not called upon to plead.

Ramsundar’s attorney Alvin Ramroop told the court his client was granted $80,000 bail by a Justice of the Peace and Vandenburg allowed its continuance.

Shortly before lunch, the magistrate then read to Baksh the charge that on September 15, 2017, at Nazim Avenue, San Francique, he assaulted De Silva occasioning actual bodily harm.

She also read the charge that on the same day, Baksh unlawfully and maliciously damaged De Silva’s eyeglasses valued $2400. Baksh, whose company is currently embroiled in the fake oil fiasco at Petrotrin, was also not called upon to plead.

Baksh was represented by Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj SC and Michael Rooplal. Rooplal asked the court for a continuance of Baksh’s bail of $80,000 which was granted by a Justice of the Peace on Thursday. The request was granted.

Krishenath Neebar stood bail for both accused.

The prosecution did not object to bail and the matter was adjourned to December 11.

Usually, private vehicles, except those of court employees, are not allowed to enter the courtyard.

However, Baksh’s van was allowed onto the compound so he could be driven away. Ramsundar exited through the front and after a short walk was picked up by someone.