By Feona Morrison
Social activist Mark Benschop told the media that it appears he will get justice, after all. His comments came
mere minutes after exiting the Providence Magistrate’s Court, where former PPP Information Liaison Kwame McCoy faced three charges related to an alleged March 2011 attack.
McCoy appeared before Magistrate Leron Daly yesterday and was released on a total of $275,000 bail after pleading not guilty to charges of Damage to Property, Unlawful Assault and Simple Larceny.
The first charge alleged that on March 5, 2011 at Diamond New Scheme, East Bank Demerara McCoy damaged a motor vehicle belonging to Benschop. It was further alleged that on March 5, 2011 at the same location, he stole an Acer laptop valued $120,000, property of Benschop.
And the final charge alleged that on the same day at the said location McCoy unlawfully assaulted the social activist.
The incident allegedly occurred outside McCoy’s home while Benschop was attempting to take photographs of McCoy’s residence. It was reported that at the time of the attack Benschop was running an online radio and a website. He was investigating reports that McCoy was building a house worth $100M.
Benschop had alleged that while he was taking the photographs, McCoy and two other individuals assaulted him. He said that the defendant was one of the individuals who smashed his vehicle window and made off with his computer and other valuables from the vehicle.
The defendant who resides at Lot 336 Section ‘A’ Diamond, East Bank Demerara was ordered to post bail in
the sum of $200,000 on the first charge. On the simple larceny charge, bail was set at $50,000 while $25,000 bail was given on the unlawful assault charge.
Attorney Euclin Gomes made an application for bail on behalf of McCoy. He asked that his client be released on self bail because he is not a flight risk. The lawyer added that his client is a “well known journalist” and has no intention of fleeing the jurisdiction.
Gomes told the court that his client is anxious to vindicate himself.
Police Prosecutor, Sergeant Tracey May Gittens did not oppose the defendant being admitted to pre-trial liberty. However, she requested that bail‘ be set in a substantial amount.
According to the Prosecutor, McCoy was charged based on advice given by the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).
This matter has been adjourned until May 18, for the filing of statements.
In an invited comment, Benchop told Kaieteur News that it appears he will be getting justice now that the matter has come up. He said that it is not about any sort of political victimization or witch hunting. “…Nobody wants to victimize him (McCoy) he has victimized so many people in Guyana”, Benchop added.
Reflecting on the incident that occurred five years ago, Benschop recalled, “McCoy and his henchmen damaged my vehicle; they assaulted me and they stole items from out of my vehicle.”
The activist stated that police back then had refused to do their jobs because of political intimidation from the then Office of the President.
Benschop had made appeals earlier this year for investigations to be reopened into his claims that McCoy and associates had assaulted him and vandalized his vehicle. But police were unable to locate the file and took new statements.
In February, Kwame McCoy, Jason Abdulla and Shawn Hinds were each released on $100,000 bail by a City Magistrate for allegedly assaulting Kaieteur News columnist Frederick Kissoon.
According to reports, the three men threw faece in Kissoon’s face just outside a Robb Street, Supermarket on May 24, 2010.
This matter is still before the courts.
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