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David Millard, alias ‘Buffy’, arrives at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court yesterday with his bundle of clothes in a plastic bag. Photo by SUREASH CHOLAI.

DAVID ‘BUFFY’ MAILLARD’s appearance in court yesterday was a stark contrast to when he stepped of the Air Guard’s 19-seater plane on Saturday at Piarco International Airport.

Millard returned home on Saturday from Guyana casually dressed in an orange jersey and baggy pants. He had been on the run for nearly three years. Yesterday, he was attired in a flowing dark green Muslim gown with a matching taj.

Millard, 43, arrived at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court under tight security. He appeared before Chief Magistrate Sherman Mc Nicolls in the Eighth Court at 10.15 a.m. The court was packed, not only with Millard’s relatives, but with friends and relatives of eight other murder accused.

Mc Nicolls then asked Millard if he was also known by ‘Buffy’ and ‘Mustapha’ to which the accused said yes. The charge was then read.

It is alleged that on June 4, 2003 at Citrine Drive, Diamond Vale, Diego Martin, Millard conspired with Yasin Abu Bakr and Brent ‘Big Brent’ Miller to murder expelled members of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen Salim Rasheed and Zaki Aubidah. The charge, brought by Sgt Jayson Forde, was laid indictably so Millard was not called upon to plead.

Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Geoffrey Henderson and Senior State attorney Wayne Rajbansie appeared for the State, while Wayne Sturge represented Millard.

Henderson said the State was objecting to bail, saying there were substantial grounds for believing that if Millard was granted bail, he would fail to surrender to custody. But Sturge intervened right away and said Henderson’s objection was premature.

Sturge said he would not be making an application for bail. “We are not going to waste the court’s time at this least for now. The objection is premature, but we are asking the DPP to take steps to start the preliminary inquiry in the same vein that Naraynsingh had his trial.”

Sturge asked for the State authorities to move Millard from the Port-of-Spain State Prison to the secure Maximum Security Prison - the same high-risk facility where Bakr is being detained without bail.

Mc Nicolls said he has no say where prisoners are kept and recommended that Sturge write to the Commissioner of Prisons.

Sturge said because of his representation to persons in the conspiracy to murder case, he may not appear for Millard in the future. He said Millard may need further time to get another lawyer.

Henderson said the State would do it best to have the matter expedited. He said the State has two options - to go for a paper committal, or use the 2005 amendment to the Preliminary Inquiry (Indictable Offences) Act.

According to that amendment, if a second accused is arrested after the committal of the first accused, then the second accused can be committed direct to the High Court to join the co-accused before a judge and jury.

Bakr, the imprisoned leader of the Jamaat Al Muslimeen, was arrested on August 21, 2003 and charged with conspiracy to murder. He went on trial in January 2005, with one of the co-accused Brent Miller as a State witness. On March 16, 2005, the nine-member jury failed to arrive at a decision and a re-trial was ordered. The re-trial is listed for October 2.

Mc Nicolls then adjourned Millard’s case to May 18, advising him that he has a right to apply to a judge in chambers for bail. The hearing was over in ten minutes. At 1.10 p.m, Millard was whisked away under tight security provided by members of the Guard and Emergency Branch.