Businessman Damian Laing has been released on $100,000 bail after making his first court appearance for allegedly transferring his licensed firearm to his driver.
Laing, 43, from Palmiste, San Fernando, was arrested by officers of the Southern Division Operation and Intelligence Unit and Southern Division Task Force during an operation last Friday, but had to be immediately hospitalised as he complained of feeling unwell even prior to his detention.
Sources said Laing remained warded under police guard at the Gulf View Medical Complex and attended the virtual hearing of his case on his hospital bed with his attorneys Om Lalla and Prakash Ramadhar by his side on Wednesday.
During the hearing, Magistrate Armina Deonarinesingh did not call on Laing to enter a plea to the charge, which was laid indictably. He was ordered to reappear in court on July 27.
According to a media release issued by the T&T Police Service (TTPS) Corporate Communications Unit issued on Wednesday, Laing was arrested while the officers were performing “extensive surveillance” on a restaurant at South Park in San Fernando.
Police arrested 26-year-old driver Brian Lendor, who was allegedly found in possession of Laing’s licensed Smith and Wesson .380 pistol, which was loaded with seven rounds of ammunition, and did not have a Firearm User’s License (FUL) or a Firearm User’s (Employee Certificate).
Lendor also made his court appearance for possession of a firearm and ammunition and for resisting arrest on Wednesday. He pleaded guilty and was denied bail pending his sentencing. Lendor is scheduled to reappear in court on July 20.
The TTPS release stated that further investigations resulted in the seizure of 27 firearms and 800 rounds of assorted ammunition that were allegedly found at the home of a relative of one of the accused. However, legal sources close to the accused men claimed that although the firearms were seized, they were all licensed and covered by FULs granted by the Office of the Commissioner of Police.
The exercise was coordinated by Senior Supt Winchester, ASP Jaikaran, Insp Phillips, and Sgts Williams and Wilkinson.
Laing was also represented by Vishan Girwar.