The criminal case against businessman Raymond Yhap has been thrown out because of procedural irregularities.
On Wednesday, October 13, Chief Magistrate Joanne Walsh upheld a no-case submission made on Yhap’s behalf by his attorney, Andrew O’Kola.
Yhap had been granted bail by the court in August 2020, after being charged by the Police with possession of ammunition.
Last summer, officers conducted raids on several of his businesses, including two supermarkets on Lower All Saints Road, and on his home. According to reports, the Police seized a number of items, including money, a firearm, and 140 rounds of .360 ammunition from his residence.
As a result of that operation, the businessman was charged.
However, during the trial, the Court heard from at least five police officers, including the armourer, and all gave different figures for the amount of ammunition found.
This eventually forced the prosecution to amend the charge and to alter the number of bullets reported to have been found on Yhap’s property.
Further, the Police are accused of not adhering to chain-of-custody procedures, in which seized items must be checked in front of the suspect and then signed and initialed by that person and the relevant police investigator.
Reports are that a female officer said she counted the bullets that were removed from a safe; however, Yhap was not asked to sign the evidence bag in which the bullets were contained.
Later, another female officer reportedly counted the bullets in her office, but Yhap was not present. He was subsequently asked to sign the exhibits; but he refused, based on the instructions of his attorney, since some procedural breaches had already occurred.
The armourer told the court that he had neglected to count the bullets in the magazine of Yhap’s weapon, but wanted the court to include them in the final count.
Taking into account the procedural irregularities and the differing evidence from the Police, the Court upheld O’Kola’s no-case submission.
Yhap has been a licensed firearm-holder for well over a decade.