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Inventer of Ultrasonic Gun Testifies at Race Fraud Trial

November 3, 1989 GMT

LONDON (AP) _ The inventor of an ultra-sound gun used to stun a racehorse in an alleged plot to launder drug money through sure bets testified Thursday he was told it would make his fortune.

″I had someone tell me that if I had a device like this, I would not have to work again,″ auto dealer James Laming told a criminal court. ″This was someone fairly high up in the racing world, and the gambling game.″

Laming, 49, would not name the man, who he said had no direct involvement with the weapon.

He was giving evidence 16 months after the thoroughbred Ile de Chypre veered suddenly across the track while leading an important English race, apparently stunned by an ultrasonic-sound gun disguised as a pair of binoculars.

The sound emitted from the grandstand, inaudible to humans, stunned the horse and caused it to toss veteran jockey Greville Starkey.

Prosecutors say the ultrasonic device was the centerpiece of a plan in which narcotics profits would be laundered at tracks through bets guaranteed by use of the gun.

Laming denies charges of cocaine possession and conspiring to distribute the drug. He claims his association with confessed drug Peruvian drug dealer Rene Black was based only on the invention.

Earlier in the trial, the court was told how Laming’s brother, standing at the grandstand rail, used the device on Ile de Chypre during the King George V Handicap at Ascot on June 16, 1988. The horse was leading by three lengths less than 150 yards from the finish.

Jonathan Goldberg, Laming’s lawyer, told the court Tuesday the plan was to ″undermine the the entire system of racecourse betting and bookmaking in this country.″

On Thursday, Laming was asked what that meant.

″It meant taking out a horse,″ he said.

Asked whether he understood what would be achieved by taking out one horse in a race, Laming said: ″I thought it would have advantages for the betting.″

Prosecutor Andrew Mitchell asked Laming how he interested Black in the device, when the inventor himself did not appear to understand how it could be used in betting.

″I am not one for theatrical performance, but I believe the fact that the device was unique helped,″ Laming replied. ″He was extremely interested in the fact that I could take out horses.″

He also said Black was a former show jumper and thought of reviving his own career by using the gun against competitors.