By Feona Morrison
Following a well publicized video showing a Guyanese mining ranger being allegedly assaulted by two Ukrainians working with the West Bank Demerara Gold Inc. Security Services, the accused assailants were handcuffed and brought before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan to face criminal charges.
The Ukrainians, Vitaly Parashuck, 38, and Maksym Furtak, 33, of Bel Air, Georgetown, along with Guyanese National Charles Clark, 33, of BlueBerry Hill, Wismar, Linden, pleaded not guilty to all the charges leveled against them.
Parashuck and Furtak denied separate charges which alleged that on August 3, 2018, while being employed with the West Bank Demerara Gold Incorporated Security Services, as a Camp Coordinator and Security Officer respectively, they failed to wear uniforms while on duty.
Parashuck was charged for making use of threatening language to Clark, whereby a breach of the peace may have occasioned. It was further alleged that on August 3, 2018, he assaulted Clark so as to cause him actual bodily harm.
And Furtak was charged separately for making use of threatening language to Rudolph Deen, whereby a breach of the peace may have been occasioned. The foreigners, who spoke to the court through an interpreter, were remanded to prison.
Meanwhile, Clark was released on $20,000 bail after denying a charge which alleged that on August 3, 2018, while being employed as a Security Officer with the Hopkinson Mining Company Security Services, he failed to wear his uniform while on duty.
The parties involved were arrested after a video that purportedly showed Russian-speaking security personnel assaulting a Guyanese mining ranger.
The video sparked an investigation by the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission (GGMC), and Guyana Police Force (GPF). The video allegedly shows a Guyanese being confronted by two foreigners.
The foreigners were wearing pants resembling military fatigues and ordinary jerseys, and both men were armed with handguns. The Guyanese was telling the foreigners that he was not working for them and did not have to show them anything.
This seemed to be because the foreigners felt that the man was working in the wrong area.
One of the foreigners then punched the Guyanese and the Guyanese attempted to respond in kind, but the foreigner drew a handgun.
The video sparked a debate on social media that saw Guyanese expressing dissatisfaction about how foreigners are treating Guyanese. After conducting investigations and sending a file for legal advice, the police were advised to charge the three men with the various offences.
Attorneys-at-Law Devindra Kissoon and Keoma Griffith who were both retained by the Ukrainians, along with Attorney-at-Law Eusi Anderson who represented Clark, petitioned for their clients to be released on reasonable bail.
However, only Clark was afforded pre-trial liberty, as the Chief Magistrate said that her reason for remanding the Ukrainians was because they do not have ties to Guyana. Police Prosecutor Inspector Gordon Mansfield also opposed bail for the foreign nationals citing the same grounds and more.
The prosecutor’s objections were upheld by the Magistrate.
During his bail application, Griffith sought to explain that his clients were released on station bail pending investigations. The lawyer pointed out that the men have been fully cooperating with police investigation and saw it fit to surrender.
According to Griffith, his clients have no intention of fleeing the country since their passports and all necessary travel documents were confiscated by the police. The lawyer disclosed that since the alleged incident, his clients’ employer has relocated them to Georgetown so as to facilitate court proceedings.
While stating to the court that his clients are the ideal candidates for bail, Griffith assured the court that there would not be a recurrence of the incident if the men are released on bond pending the hearing and determination of the matters.
The court was informed by Griffith that the Ukrainians are here legally and were each granted work permits which do not expire until 2021. The work permits, Griffith said, were issued in 2011.
Meanwhile, Clark’s lawyer said his client is employed with Hopkinson Mining Company Security Service and has no antecedents. The lawyer added that his client once served in the Guyana Defence Force.
The Police Prosecutor was quick to respond, noting that he was not in approval of the men being released on bail. Prosecutor Mansfield pointed out that the two Ukrainians are flight risks, since they do not have “sufficient ties to Guyana,” adding that, “there is no evidence of them having local addresses.”
While the allegations leveled against them may not seem serious, the Prosecutor pointed out that the incident could have ended much more gravely. As it relates to travel documents for the men, Prosecutor Mansfield made it clear that he is not aware that police seized the items.
Rising at the bar table to react, Griffith, who had earlier told the court that his clients’ passports were seized, said that the men are willing to lodge their travel documents and comply with any conditions attached to bail should it be granted.
In the end, the bail application was refused. The Chief Magistrate remanded the Ukrainians to prison until August 23, when they along with Clark will appear in the Bartica Magistrate’s Courts.
HOW DID THEY GET GUNS?
During yesterday’s court hearing, the prosecutor was asked by the Chief Magistrate about how the Ukrainians got firearms, and to disclose the circumstances under which the offences occurred.
In response, Prosecutor Mansfield said that to his knowledge, the men are licensed to carry firearms by virtue of their employer and by them being sworn supernumerary constables.
According to Prosecutor Mansfield, on the day in question, Parashuck and Clark were involved in an argument during which Parashuck dealt Clark a cuff to the face.
Both Parashuck and Furtak allegedly pointed a gun at the virtual complainant (Clark) in a threatening manner, the prosecutor added.
As it is, police have already wrapped up investigations in the matter. The Prosecutor, however, indicated that he is still awaiting a report from the Guyana Geology and Mines Commission.
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