(Trinidad Guardian) Three of the four men—including two media workers—charged with a slew of offences arising from a robbery in Arouca one week ago were granted bail yesterday during their third court appearance. Nine days after they were arrested, Express crime reporter Akile Simon and TV6 cameraman Brendon Alexander walked out of the Arima Magistrates’ Court and were greeted by family and friends.
Simon, 28; Alexander, 27; taxi driver Randy Borris, 24; and security guard Marley Charles, 27, are charged with offences relating to a robbery at K&A Liquor Mart, Range Road, Five Rivers, Arouca on May 20. Simon was granted bail of TT$250,000 with surety while Alexander’s bail was fixed at TT$60,000 with surety. Borris was granted TT$75,000 with surety, and while Charles was remanded in custody.
The bail amounts are to cover all the charges against each defendant, who were also ordered to comply with certain reporting conditions. Appearing before Senior Magistrate Lucina Cardenas-Ragoonanan, Simon’s attorneys—Dana Seetahal, SC, and John Heath—surrendered Simon’s passport to the court.
Accepting Simon’s passport, Cardenas-Ragoonanan reminded Seetahal that her client would need the court’s permission if he wished to leave the jurisdiction. Seetahal said she was aware of the procedure. Concerned about the pre-trial publicity surrounding the matter, the senior magistrate addressed reports circulating in the media and information being disseminated through police media briefings which she said suggested the accused men had already been tried and convicted.
She said such reports continued to emerge in relation to “other matters and not just this one,” which was a worrying thought, as information was being made public before the start of a trial. Cardenas-Ragoonanan reminded the court that “everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”
She also echoed the concerns of Magistrate Anna Ryan on Monday, when she urged the media not to engage in any prejudicial reporting and adverse publicity which could jeopardise the matter against the defendants. The matter will resume in the Arima First Magistrates’ Court on June 22.