Trinidad: Man charged under Anti-Terrorism Act sent for psychiatric evaluation

Jonathan An­tho­ny Mo­hammed

(Trinidad Guardian) A man ac­cused of in­cit­ing acts of racial vi­o­lence via so­cial me­dia has been sent to the St Ann’s Hos­pi­tal for a psy­chi­atric eval­u­a­tion.

Chief Mag­is­trate Maria Bus­by Ear­le-Cad­dle or­dered that Jonathan An­tho­ny Mo­hammed be sent to St Ann’s for two weeks af­ter he ap­peared be­fore her in the Port-of-Spain Sev­enth Mag­is­trate’s Court yes­ter­day.

Mo­hammed, al­so known as John­ny, 22, was not called up­on to en­ter a plea as the charges were laid in­dictably. He was charged with sedi­tion and in­cit­ing the com­mis­sion of a ter­ror­ist act to cause the loss of life or se­vere bod­i­ly harm and or the en­dan­ger­ment of per­sons of the African race for pur­pose of ad­vanc­ing an ide­o­log­i­cal or re­li­gious cause con­trary to Sec­tion 14 of the An­ti-Ter­ror­ism Act. The act was al­leged to have been com­mit­ted on Face­book on Oc­to­ber 28.

Af­ter read­ing the charges to Mo­hammed, Bus­by Ear­le-Cad­dle was prompt­ed to ask him if he un­der­stood her, as he ini­tial­ly on­ly re­spond­ed through nods and oth­er body move­ments, and on­ly ap­peared to re­spond to the mag­is­trate up­on prompt­ing from his at­tor­neys Ravi Ra­j­coomar and John Heath.

Mo­hammed told the mag­is­trate he had dif­fi­cul­ty hear­ing her state­ments and again nod­ded when asked if she should speak loud­er and again had to be prompt­ed by Heath to re­spond.

Ra­j­coomar re­quest­ed the bail hear­ing be de­ferred so his client could be giv­en a men­tal as­sess­ment at St Ann’s. The pros­e­cu­tion did not ob­ject.

The Chief Mag­is­trate said she would place a note on his rec­om­men­da­tion to the hos­pi­tal con­cern­ing his be­hav­iour in court stat­ing he was non-com­mu­nica­tive.

Ra­j­coomar said Mo­hammed had pre­vi­ous­ly seen a pri­vate prac­ti­tion­er, Dr Claudius Sama­roo, for as­sess­ments in 2014 and 2017.

The mat­ter was ad­journed to No­vem­ber 26. Pros­e­cu­tor Cpl Nurse told the court he ex­pect­ed the Of­fice of the Di­rec­tor of Pub­lic Pros­e­cu­tions to have their file ready for the case on that date. He said the state al­ready had a wit­ness ready and present for the mat­ter.

Mo­hammed was ar­rest­ed last Wednes­day af­ter a video record­ing of Face­book posts was shared on so­cial me­dia. One of the posts was a video which de­picts a ve­hi­cle in a mo­tor­cade sud­den­ly ex­plod­ing, while oth­er posts in the video ap­peared to be ver­bal calls for racial vi­o­lence.

Mo­hammed was charged last Fri­day (No­vem­ber 9).

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