(Trinidad Express) A scuffle broke out on the compound of Express House in Port of Spain last night as police officers of the Port of Spain CID attempted to arrest TV6’s Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne.
ASP Ajith Persad who had waited for Alleyne outside Express House on Charlotte Street, said Alleyne was wanted for questioning in relation to an alleged criminal matter in which the rape of a minor was aired live on the Crime Watch programme in October last year.
Last December, a large contingent of officers had executed a warrant at CCNTV6’s offices in search for tapes in relation to their investigation.
The action by the police came mere days before the six-month statutory limit for charges to be laid against anyone in connection with the airing of the tape expires on Monday.
Alleyne, police sources said, faces charges under the Sexual Offences Act which prohibits media houses from identifying victims of sexual attacks.
He is also facing a charge of resisting ASP Persad in the execution of his duty, a reliable police source told the Express last evening.
If charged, Alleyne would be granted bail by a Justice of the Peace, who was also at the CID office last night, and will appear before a Port of Spain magistrate later today to answer the charges.
CCN chief executive officer, Shida Bolai, maintained last evening that the company had always been cooperative with the police in their investigations.
Alleyne was led out of the Express House compound last night in handcuffs shortly after the Crime Watch programme ended and an angry mob attempted to challenge a handful of police officers who had come to detain him.
The front gate to the compound was violently shaken by the crowd as police officers held on to Alleyne and attempted to escort him from the compound into a waiting police vehicle.
At the time Alleyne was approached by the officers, he was shaking the hands of scores of supporters who had gathered behind the gate on the Charlotte Street entrance to lend support.
Alleyne and a cameraman were seen in a physical confrontation with the police and during the melee, Alleyne’s attorney Om Lalla, who attempted to seek further answers from the police, was pushed aside.
As the police were attempting to remove him from the area of the gate, the crowd chanted, “Leave Ian Alleyne alone!”
ASP Persad eventually called for a pair of handcuffs and placed them on Alleyne’s hand and again there was a physical confrontation. “You’re under arrest for questioning in relation to a criminal investigation,” ASP Persad repeated to Alleyne.
Security guards at CCN were forced to brace the gate with their bodies and a parked car as the angry mob attempted to push it down and gain access to the compound.
Persad then decided to remove Alleyne from the area where the crowd was shouting and they walked through the CCN carpark towards the exit on South Quay.
As they waited for the police vehicle to arrive, the angry mob also changed their location and showed up on South Quay even before the police vehicle arrived. They again violently shook the gate calling on the police to leave Alleyne alone.
Alleyne was given a bottle of water and he sat on the edge of a wall in the carpark and spoke with Lalla and members of the media.
Eventually he was taken back to the Charlotte Street entrance and then to the unmarked police vehicle by Cpl Andre Lopez. While being taken to the vehicle, the irate mob chanted his name and quickly closed in on the vehicle.
Obscenities and abuses were hurled at the officers as they entered the vehicle to whisk Alleyne off to the CID office.
Police said they only placed the handcuffs on Alleyne after he held on to the gate and said he refused to leave with them. They said they repeatedly told Alleyne that he was under arrest for questioning but he refused and resisted.
Before he was arrested, Alleyne questioned the action of the police, saying he believed it was a personal attack against him by Commissioner of Police, Dwayne Gibbs.
Alleyne said: “The bigger picture is, I’m a fugitive? I’m a criminal to come down here with all this set of police and what not to arrest me, for what? But I’d let everybody know this is the work of your commissioner Dwayne Gibbs…This is personal.
“What is all this when there are criminals out there, there are rapist, there are monsters out there, go after them. Why are you coming after me? So let the nation see this is what happens when you stand up for justice in this country. Look at politics, just look at politics.”
Questioned on whether the police had previously contacted him and requested that he come in for questioning, Alleyne said yes.
“They made attempts to contact me but nevertheless we had a discussion. We had a discussion and I’m sure Ajith (ASP Persad) could tell you the nature of the discussion. But they never indicated to me the urgency of the matter that (they) gonna come by six o’clock to lock (me) up to charge me. Let them come get me because I’m not going out,” Alleyne said.
He said the future of the programme will be decided upon by TV6’s management and he was ready for his day in court.
Asked if he had any regrets showing the tape, Alleyne said he was satisfied people have been charged and he’d do it again.
Lalla, who described the arrest by the police as an abuse of process, said he spoke with ASP Persad who indicated they were present to “arrest” Alleyne for questioning.
Ian in handcuffs “Oh God dey put Ian in handcuffs and have him on the ground,” cried out a man who had climbed onto the gate at the South Quay entrance to Express House to see what was taking place inside. As the crowd in the area heard this they began to pound on the gate shouting, “Leave we Ian Alleyne alone. He is the only one fighting for we poor people.” Others climbed on the gate as the crowd grew larger with passers by stopping to ask what was happening. When they heard what was happening they too joined in shouts for his freedom and attempted to push down the steel gate. Then one of the men at the top of the gate shouted they were taking Alleyne to the Charlotte Street entrance and the people ran up the street. Some people tried to grab hold of the plainclothes police officers escorting Alleyne to the police vehicle, while others reached out to Alleyne who was shoved into the vehicle. People tried to follow the vehicle as it drove along Independence Square.