BUSINESSMAN Michael Patrick Aboud was granted $475,000 bail on Monday by a Port of Spain magistrate to cover five charges of illegal firearm and drug-related offences.
Aboud, 38, was arrested on Friday by the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) at hisfamily’s home at 37 Alexandra Street, St Clair.
He appeared before magistrate Aden Stroude in the Four B court, where he was granted bail and ordered to report to the San Fernando police station every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
He has been charged with possession of a firearm and 15 rounds of nine-millimetre ammunition as well as possession of three marijuana cigarettes and possession of two devices for the use of cocaine.
For the three drug-related charges, the prosecution recommended summary trial. Aboud pleaded not guilty to them, also opting to have his case heard in the magistrates’ court.
On the gun-related charges, although summary trial was also recommended, Aboud opted for those to be heard in the High Court. He was not asked to enter a plea for those charges.
His attorney Fareed Ali, in his bail application, said his client had lived at Cypress Avenue, Union Hall, San Fernando, since his marriage in August, and the address where he was arrested on Friday was the family’s home.
Ali asked for a cash alternative to the bail, saying his client owned no property. But Stroude denied this, who advised Aboud to apply to a judge in chambers for a variation or to ask for his matter to be brought forward if there was a change in circumstance.
In objecting to bail, police prosecutor Sgt Azard Ali said Aboud’s record showed he was on a bond, granted in 2017, on a charge of driving under the influence, and had a pending matter before the court for a 2018 offence of occasioning actual bodily harm and choking with intent.
Although Ali admitted the assault charges did not fall in the schedule of offences under the Bail (Amendment) Act of 2019, he said Aboud would have been on bail for those offences when he is alleged to have committed the gun and drug possession charges.
He said if granted bail, Aboud was likely to re-offend and it appeared that he had “graduated” from one offence to another.
But Aboud’s attorney argued that the offences of driving under the influence and the assault charges were not interrelated and did not show a pattern of offending.
“There is no escalation of behavioural pattern. I do not see a relationship between the offences,” the attorney said.
On Friday, SORT officers went to the heavily secured property to execute a search warrant and spent several hours searching the premises with the K9 Unit.
Aboud will return to court on December 4.