National cyclist Hamzah Eastman gets bail on firearm charges
After spending the last two weeks on remand at the Lusignan Prison on two firearm-related charges, national cyclist Hamzah Eastman was released on $150,000 bail by the High Court.
The application was presented by attorney-at-law Bernard DaSilva before Justice Navindra Singh at the Demerara High Court.
On November 10, Eastman appeared before Magistrate Leron Daly at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court and was remanded to prison on two firearm-related charges.
Particulars of the charges alleged that on November 7 at Cane View Avenue, Roxanne Burnham Gardens, Eastman had a .32 revolver along with four matching rounds in his possession; it was found he does not have a firearm license.
The prosecutor had told the court that investigations into these matters are incomplete and asked for approximately three weeks for obtaining a certificate from the analyst, among other statements not yet in the file.
The matter was adjourned to November 27, for report and disclosure.
In his grounds for bail, attorney DaSilva argued that premised on the nature and complexities of the said investigations, there is a strong likelihood of the trial date to be protracted beyond the aforementioned adjourned date.
This delay, DaSilva said, can be considered unfair, thereby denying his client of a fair hearing within a reasonable time.
“The defendant (Eastman) is aptly entitled to rely on the presumption of innocence at this stage of proceedings and believes that bail favours him. He is not averse to conditions being attached to the grant of bail and is by no means a flight risk,” the document read.
Another ground for the High Court bail stated that further delays in this matter would have forced his client to endure the conditions of incarceration, which would amount to punishment before trial.
This situation, DaSilva said, has the potential to cause Eastman to unnecessarily endure the exposure of inhumane and unhygienic conditions, coupled with the exposure of the risk of contracting the Corona Virus while in prison.
Justice Singh granted the application and released Eastman on a total of $150,000 bail.
In the application, the facts of the charges state that on November 7, Eastman, was standing among a group of friends when a police patrol vehicle drove past them and reversed.
Upon seeing the Police reversing, the friends dispersed in different directions, leaving Eastman standing alone.
The Police picked up an object what appears to be a gun not far from where Eastman was standing and enquired from him as to the accurate identity and places of residence of the friends.
Eastman could not provide same to the police.
According to the court document, the Police became upset and said to Eastman that since he was covering for his friends, he will have to own up to the gun.