T&T crime watch host charged

(Trinidad Express) CCN TV6’s Crime Watch host Ian Alleyne was yesterday slapped with four charges, three under the Sexual Offences Act and one of resisting arrest.

Late yesterday, ASP Ajith Persad, the lead investigator in the probe into the airing of a tape showing the rape of a minor, laid information on three Sexual Offences charges and resisting Persad in the execution of his duty, contrary to the Police Service Act.

Up to late last evening, the four warrants Persad obtained before the Clerk of the Peace at the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court, in relation to the charges against Alleyne, had not been executed on Alleyne.

Alleyne remained warded under police guard at the Hibiscus Ward of the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex in Mt Hope up to last night.

Alleyne’s attorney, Om Lalla, a regular face on the Crime Watch show, hosted the programme in Alleyne’s absence. Lalla confirmed the police had charged Alleyne with four offences.

Police sources confirmed the warrants will be executed on Alleyne when he is discharged from the medical facility. He will be finger printed, photographed and granted bail before a Justice of the Peace and ordered to appear before a magistrate on Monday.

The police also confirmed they were not able to interview Alleyne since he was taken to the Port of Spain General Hospital after complaining of chest pain while at the Criminal Investigations Department (CID) on Thursday night.

CCN TV6 was also slapped with three charges under the Sexual Offences Act and will be served with three summonses which were also obtained by Persad.

One of the company’s attorneys, Sophia Chote, had been in contact with Persad and was informed of the charges. The three charges stemmed from the airing of the tape in which a minor was being raped in Morvant.

Days after the tape was aired, police arrested several suspects and charged them with the alleged offence against the victim.

On Thursday night, a scuffle broke out on the compound of Express House in Port of Spain as police officers of the Port of Spain CID attempted to arrest Alleyne.

While Persad was attempting to arrest Alleyne, Persad told him he was being arrested 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 CCN TV6’s offices in search for tapes in relation to their investigation.

Alleyne’s arrest 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.

Persad had to lay the information in relation to the alleged charges against Alleyne and CCN TV6 before the process section at the Magistrates’ Court closed yesterday.

If this was not done, the police would not have been able to proceed with the matter. Officers had been liaising closely with Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard.

Meanwhile, Alleyne’s attorney, Lalla, said yesterday Alleyne was transferred to the Mt Hope facility from the Port of Spain General Hospital on the advice of doctors. He again criticised the police for the manner in which they handled the situation on Thursday, saying it was an attempt to embarrass Alleyne.

“I have just been told by the police that he (Alleyne) is likely to be charged for an offence which is a broadcast infringement under the Sexual Offence Act but it deals with broadcast, the interpretation of it. I’m surprised that he’s being charged I guess I’d address that elsewhere,” Lalla said.

He said he was surprised when he saw two armed police officers guarding Alleyne at the hospital. He added when he questioned the police about it he was told that the officers were there to protect Alleyne from members of the public.

Asked if he felt Thursday’s incident could have been avoided if Alleyne had just turned himself over to police for questioning, Lalla said Alleyne has the right to refuse to be interviewed by police.

“Turn yourself in for what? The law still remains that you do not have to give a statement to the police. What the police demonstrated yesterday (Thursday) was that we (they) called you; you didn’t come to give us an interview (so) we are arresting you because we want to interview you.

“I asked specifically last (Thursday) night, what is the reason for (Alleyne’s arrest) and they said just to assist. I asked what are the charges, they didn’t answer. Is there any warrant, they said no, they just want him to assist,” Lalla said.

Lalla said up to late yesterday Alleyne had not been interviewed by the officers even though they have met with him and he remains in their custody.

He added he believed it was the first time the particular section of the Sexual Offences Act is being invoked.

What the law says: Sexual Offences Act Chapter 11:28 32. (1) Before or after a person is accused of an offence under this Act, no matter likely to lead members of the public to identify a person as the complainant in relation to that accusation shall either be published in Trinidad and Tobago in a written publication available to the public or be broadcast in Trinidad and Tobago except where, on the application of the complainant, the Court directs that the effect of the restriction is to impose a substantial and unreasonable restriction on the reporting of proceedings and that it is in the public interest to remove the restriction in respect of the applicant. (2) A person who publishes or broadcasts any matter contrary to subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of twenty-five thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years. (3) Subsection (2) refers to— (a) in the case of a publication in a newspaper or periodical, any proprietor, any editor and publisher of the newspaper or periodical; (b) in the case of any other publication, the person who publishes it; and (c) in the case of a broadcast a body corporate, which transmits or provides the programme in which the broadcast is made and any person having functions in relation to the programme corresponding to those of an editor of a newspaper. (4) In subsection (1), “complainant” includes in relation to a person accused of an offence under this Act, the person against whom the offence is alleged to have been committed.

 

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