By Latrishka Thomas
In a trial against a local businessman, police witnesses were put in the hot seat after producing varying totals of the amount of ammunition they claim the defendant had in his possession.
New Thriving restaurant boss Raymond Yhap was chargedwith breaching the terms of his firearm user’s licencein August last year.
According to reports, police raided several of Yhap’s businesses, including two of his supermarkets on lower All Saints Road, in August 2020 and seized a number of items, including money, a firearm and ammunition.
As a licensed firearm holder, he is reportedly permitted to have only 60 bullets in his possession at any one time.
However, officers reportedly found 142rounds of ammunition at one business place, and Yhap was charged accordingly.
Throughout the trial, however, several police witnesses gave sworn testimony, citing different accounts of the number of ammunition allegedly found.
One constable from the Forensic Evidence Recovery Unit said that she documented and labelled all the items found at Yhap’s home above the Diamond Edge Night Club.
She initially stated that she counted 152 rounds but later said it added up to 171.
A sergeant stationed at the police armory, who is said to have received the evidence from the aforementioned constable, said he received 151 rounds which he separated according to make and type before labelling.
In his evidence, he stated the breakdown of all of the ammunition and the bullets were tendered into evidence, however, not adding up to 151.
As a result, the prosecution amended the number of exhibits, changing it from 142 to 151.
Yhap’s lawyer, Andrew O’Kola, objected saying that the change was prejudicial against his client because the police started their case saying 142 rounds were found.
Magistrate Joanne Walsh disagreed with the defence and allowed the application.
In his cross examination, O’Kola grilled the witness saying “the maths not mathsing”.
He said to the officer, “you’re saying that we can trust your maths?”
And the witness replied, “my maths is on point,” insisting that 151 rounds were found.
O’Kola further pointed out to the witness that his report said that 147 rounds were found and that six rounds were given to another officer so that he could interview dealers and club owners to see if they had ever imported or sold any of them.
The witness then admitted he made two typographical errors in his report and should have written 151 and nine respectively.
“It’s fair to say that you are prone to making mistakes,” the lawyer then suggested, and the witness replied with a “no”.
“It’s either you’re lying or making a mistake. Choose one,” O’Kola rebutted.
The attorney concluded by further accusing the police of “making things up as they go along”.
Another police witness was called before the matter was adjourned until Thursday afternoon.