(Trinidad Express) Shouts of jubilation echoed through the streets of the capital city yesterday morning as TV6’s Crime Watch host, Ian Alleyne, led a group of supporters from the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court to Express House after being granted bail on four charges.
From as early as 8 a.m., supporters of the talk-show host began gathering outside the St Vincent Street court, hoping to catch a glimpse of Alleyne upon his arrival from the Port of Spain Criminal Investigations Department (CID), where he spent Monday night after being denied bail.
This, however, was not to be. Alleyne had been brought to the court since 6.30 a.m., unknown to the crowd. Police said this was done, as they had anticipated a large gathering outside the court and had resorted to bringing Alleyne at such an early hour in order to protect him as well as officers.
On Monday afternoon, Alleyne was released from the Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex, Mt Hope, where he had been hospitalised since Friday.
Upon his arrival in court, Alleyne was not kept in the holding cells, but instead was taken directly into the Eighth Court, where he later appeared before Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar.
Security officers assigned to the court stood guard at the doorway leading into the courtroom prior to its opening at 9.15 a.m.
Alleyne was the sole prisoner seated in the holding cell at the time the courtroom was opened. Attorneys, members of the media and a few of Alleyne’s close friends were the only ones present at the hearing.
His supporters remained on the outside of the building, still awaiting his arrival, unaware he was in the court.
At 9.30 a.m., Ayers-Caesar entered the courtroom. Alleyne’s attorney, Om Lalla, stood up and told the magistrate he, along with Derrick Balliram, would be seeking Alleyne’s interest in the matters.
The charges were then read and he pleaded not guilty to all four charges. In his application for bail, Lalla told the court his client had no previous convictions or pending matters. This he said would be reflected in Alleyne’s criminal background trace.
Lalla also raised concern regarding the manner in which Alleyne was charged. He said “it is interesting” that warrants had been issued for Alleyne’s arrest, as opposed to him be served with a summons to attend court, as was done with CCN TV6, on whose station the video was aired.
The television station was served with nine summonses on Monday to attend court on offences arising out of the airing of a video showing the alleged rape of a teenager.
Furthermore, Lalla said up to when Alleyne was arrested, he (Alleyne) had not been informed as to why he was being taken into custody. As a result, Lalla said a letter has since been written to Commissioner of Police Dwayne Gibbs, seeking clarity on the matter.
After no objections to bail were made by prosecutor Richard Taylor, Ayers-Caesar proceeded to grant bail in the sum of TT$80,000 ,to be approved by a Clerk of the Peace.
The magistrate would later question the police as to why Alleyne was brought into the courtroom at such an early time and even given breakfast in the courtroom, as this was not allowed.
“I am not directing this to the accused, but instead at the police. It was brought to my attention that the accused was brought to the court early this morning and directly into the courtroom. And to make matters worse, he was also given breakfast. I have no problem with certain privileges being given to persons when it comes to their protection, but it should not be taken so far,” Ayers-Caesar said.
Superintendent of the Court and Process Branch Kenneth Cordner explained that the officer who was in charge of having the prisoners brought to their respective courts misunderstood her role.
“What was upsetting was that the accused was brought into the courtroom even before the court was opened. It was even more unfortunate that he was given breakfast while in the courtroom. We apologise for what has transpired and I can assure the court that as long as I am a part of the Court and Process Branch, I will hold some training sessions to ensure that the officers fully understand their roles,” Cordner said.
About 30 minutes after the matter was called and adjourned, Alleyne was able to secure bail and, as he exited the courthouse, scores of supporters ran in his direction and swarmed him, causing police to physically remove some of them.
Alleyne, surrounded by three bodyguards, made his way from the court to Woodford Square and the steadily growing crowd followed.
At the square, Alleyne stood on top of a table and addressed his supporters.
“They can lock me up for a month, they can lock me up for two months, but I will still come out and will continue my fight for you. As long as there is breath in my body, I will continue fighting for you, the poor people,” Alleyne said.
As the crowd proceeded down Frederick Street, other supporters joined in, bringing traffic to a crawl.
On reaching the Brian Lara Promenade opposite Express House, Alleyne again positioned himself on top of a concrete table and addressed the crowd.
“Certain political figures who put their hand in this dance, let it be known that I will wet you. I have not been fired, so this evening (yesterday) at six (o’clock) on TV6, it will be wetting after wetting after wetting,” he said.
Alleyne will return to court on May 14, when CCN TV6 will also be attending court on the nine charges brought against the company.
Alleyne was back hosting Crime Watch yesterday evening.