…exonerated on two other charges
A 65-year-old America Street money changer who was last year arrested by the police during a sting operation was yesterday fined by a city Magistrate for being in possession of counterfeit money.
Dennis Yarris of Cooper and Sussex Streets, Albouystown, Georgetown, appeared before Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court on three charges.
The first charge against him detailed that on April 11, 2013 at Kitty, Georgetown, he had forged currency purporting to be US$100 and two EUR$50 notes in his car despite knowing them to be forged.
The police had claimed too that he had in his possession forged currency, a US$50 and two $1000 notes; despite knowing them to be forged. He was accused too of uttering to a Detective Corporal US$3,800 and US$50 counterfeit currencies.
Last year, police acting on “sensitive information received”, conducted a sting operation.
It was previously reported that between March 28 and April 11, 2013, Corporal Roopnarine engaged Dennis Yarris and two others, in discussions. During those discussions, the defendants sought the assistance of Corporal Roopnarine, who would operate as a boat captain, so that they could transport a quantity of “weed” from Guyana to Barbados.
On April 11, the defendants along with Corporal Roopnarine were in motorcar, PPP 8866, when they were intercepted at Coldingen Public Road.
A search was conducted and the illicit substance was discovered. The suspects were arrested and taken to the police station where they were then charged for the said offence.
Further probes had led to Harris being charged for uttering forged currencies and being in possession of forged currency. He had purportedly offered the Corporal an envelope with forged money as payment in the operation.
When he and his car were searched, more forged currencies were found and he was subsequently charged.
The trial for the drug trafficking charge is ongoing at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court.
Yarris was last year formally charged and a trial was conducted before Magistrate Ann McLennan at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.
At yesterday’s hearing, the Prosecution spearheaded by Corporal Deniro Jones closed its case, stating that it had proven beyond reasonable doubt that Yarris had committed the offences for which he was charged.
Jones urged the Magistrate to convict Yarris, citing that the Prosecution had proven every element of the offence.
The Prosecutor called upon the caution statement and the unsworn testimony of the accused as well as the testimonies offered by witnesses before the court. Jones asked the court to accept his confession statement as freely and voluntarily given to the police.
Corporal Jones beseeched the court to find the defendant guilty as charged.
Responding, Magistrate McLennan stated that she had considered the Prosecution’s evidence on account of the three charges, the no case submission made by his defence attorney Peter Hugh, as well as the Prosecution’s response.
On account of the first charge, she indicated that the court was satisfied that the money was forged but it was yet to be proven that it was Yarris’s. Doubt had risen, she said, because there was evidence showing that there were other persons in the vehicle.
The court ruled that the Prosecution had failed to prove that case and it was dismissed.
In response to the second charge, she said that the court believes that the currency was forged and that she accepted his confession statement. The court had found that he had knowledge and possession of the money which was found in his wallet.
Yarris, she said, was in custody and control of the money, so he was guilty as charged.
For uttering a forged document, she said that the envelope which contained the currency was indeed in his custody but the court was not convinced that the essential for such an offence was proven, since there was nothing that indicated that he had seen what was concealed therein.
She said that the Prosecution had failed to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt and it was dismissed.
Harris had entered a mitigation plea through his lawyer asking for the court to consider a non-custodial sentence, since this was his first time before the courts.
Hugh said that his client does have a matter at the Vigilance Magistrate’s Court which arose from the same circumstance, but that is of a different nature.
“Given his age and that he has had no antecedent, I am humbly asking the court to exercise discretion and impose a non-custodial sentence.”
Magistrate McLennan fined him $60,000 which, failing to pay by July 1, will result in nine months’ imprisonment.