Criminal Case against Raymond Yhap dismissed in Magistrate’s Court

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Yhap outside court with lawyer, relative in January 2021

Businessman Raymond Yhap is now a free man after the criminal case against him was dismissed by the court, following a no case submission made by defence attorney, Andrew O’Kola.

In August last year, Yhap was charged with breaching the terms of his Firearm User’s Licence after the police raided several of his business establishments and seized items including a firearm, ammunition, and cash.

Licensed firearm holders are apparently forbidden from having more than 60 bullets in their possession at any one time, but police reportedly found 142 bullets at one of Yhap’s establishments, resulting in the charge.

During the trial, which ended last month, the prosecution tried to prove that Yhap possessed more ammunition than was permitted by law, using the witness accounts of police personnel who came into contact with the ammunition at different stages of the seizure process.

The witnesses all claimed differing figures for the amount of ammunition that was found, leading O’Kola to rebuff those accounts on the basis that they were inconsistent. He also voiced concern with the fact the ammunition was never counted in the presence of his client, but had been done elsewhere.

Those issues, he told Observer, formed part of the basis for the no case submission he made on behalf of his client.

“There were two sets of issues essentially. The first issue, as to whether the elements of the offence were made out, and the second had to do with what were internal inconsistencies and irregularities.

“As a result of those inconsistencies and irregularities, it was quite clear that any case that the Crown purports to have would be so tenuous that it would not be possible for it to pass a very strong no case submission application.”

Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh accepted the no case submission, declaring in court yesterday that Yhap was free to move on with his life.

O’Kola commended the Magistrate for that “welcome judgement”, quipping that, “this decision by the Chief Magistrate has crystalized an important principle of law – that is, the fruit of the poisonous tree is not a fruit”.

He added that the outcome of the case was a true example of justice being served.

“All the Magistrate did was simply what justice required; look at the arguments raised by the Crown, the arguments raised by the defence, and then make a decision consistent with justice.

“If there is one time you look at a court and see the results…this is one case in which justice was done — not only seen to be done, but [also] felt to be done, given the way in which the matter progressed.”

Yhap, whose business operations include the New Thriving Restaurant, had been granted bail and made to surrender his travel documents while the matter was before the court.

O’Kola disclosed that those documents are expected to be returned in short order, as well as efforts made to reacquire his seized firearm.

The attorney noted, too, that despite their obvious delight in the victory, it was not a matter they were looking to gloat about.

Instead, they were more focused on the fact that Yhap would now be able to go about his life “without the anxiety and the stress of having the matter over [his] head”.

EARLIER REPORT:

Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh today dismissed a case against businessman Raymond Yhap.

Yhap’s attorney Andrew O’Kola filed a no-case submission, which was successful.

The businessman was charged with having more ammunition in his possession than that which is allowed under the law.

Yhap operates the New Thriving Restaurant – was arrested and charged last year.

Police raids on his business establishments resulted in the seizure of money, a firearm and ammunition.

ALSO READ:

New Thriving boss Raymond Yhap’s application to have case dismissed, denied

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17 COMMENTS

  1. This story needs more in-depth reporting. E.g. did anyone err in making out the charges. What were the quantity of ammunition seized? Has the items seized been returned to the business man?

    • The story was clear. The evidence is invalid, because proper procedure was not followed. They could go and count the bullets now and it would mean nothing. (By now there are probably 10 left anyway)

  2. JUST SAYING that comment is uncalled for and imputing improper motives to the court. This case was doomed to failure from the very beginning because of procedural errors by the investigators. For example, the defendant’s business was searched and ammunition seized outside the presence of the defendant. The ammunition was then taken to the police station and counted in the absence of the defendant. Even more troubling, evidence was presented by the police giving three different quantities of the ammunition seized. That is how botched the investigation was and that is mainly the reason for the dismissal of the charges

    • Charles Tabor is it a coincidence the man has some chips and the police botched the case?

      Seen that flick before. Investigate the investigators.

      That me say

      • You better stop complain and learn the game. The lawyer is obviously worth his fee, because he knows you can depend on the police to miss something

    • And Mr. TABOR while everything you say is probably accurate I just can’t help but cast my mind on the fact that a sitting MP Asot Michael alleged that he know that the presiding Magistrate is involved in Bobol… Is not me say so. Is a sitting MP who volunteered and the Magistrate acquiesced…Optics!!!

  3. Charles Tabor knows that the poor man always feel the blunt force of the law in most cases. Unlike the rich who most times are given a pat on the wrist.

    • Charles Tabor and the many lawyers in Antigua will only defend you as long as you have money. They don’t give a rats ass about justice once the money done they don’t come court and then you on your own. Unless its politics you don’t see Charles Tabor or the other worthless lawyers. You don’t see Charles Tabor defending murder or rape case. All he defend is anything against the government.

  4. Your mad because you think you are poor. Get a job. , if you don’t make a good salary get a better job , start your own business. But stop complaining about your poor life. Take some responsibility and stop blaming others for your perceived poor ness

    • This sounds a bit harsh but is actually true. Society owes us nothing, and the ones with the entitlement mentality are usually the ones contributing the least. Let’s all try and do a little better each day. Maybe you might end up at the point where you can help someone else. Don’t get discouraged, everybody can do something

  5. If you are a license gun owner in Antigua. You are only allowed 60 bullets maximum at any given time. In my opinion that Law needs to change. I am a gun order and where I am living,there are no limits on the amount of ammo.in my possession.

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