A James Bond-style ultrasonic gun disguised as a pair of binoculars was used to stun a top thoroughbred during a race, and could have become the key tool in a massive drug and betting conspiracy, a British court was told Tuesday.
Defense attorney Jonathan Goldberg said the high-pitched sound from the gun caused the thoroughbred, Ile de Chypre, to veer suddenly and throw jockey Greville Starkey as they were heading for victory at Ascot racecourse on June 16, 1988.
Goldberg said his client, London car dealer James Laming, invented the gun and that it was used only once.
But he said it was projected as the centerpiece of a scheme in which millions of dollars in drug profits would be laundered at race tracks, with the participants ensuring the success of their bets by using the ultrasonic device.
Goldberg introduced the gun into evidence Tuesday while defending Laming against charges of cocaine possession and conspiring to supply the drug to others. Goldberg said Laming invented the gun and was involved in a betting scheme, but knew nothing of the drug connection.
The gun could be aimed at a horse from up to 50 feet away, he said, and humans would not notice the ultrasonic noise because they have less-sensitive hearing than animals.