Four men, including two media workers, will reappear in court today for their third court appearance when bail applications for the accused are likely to be considered. Attorneys representing Express crime reporter Akile Simon and TV 6 cameraman Brendon Alexander made several applications when the matter resumed at 1.30 pm yesterday in the Arima Magistrates’ Court. Represented by attorney John Heath, Magistrate Anna Ryan was informed that Dana Seetahal, SC, also had been retained to represent Simon but was unable to attend court owing to the ongoing jury selection in the Abu Bakr trial at the Port-of-Spain Assizes. Heath also said Seetahal had only been contacted late on Friday to represent Simon and it was on that premise a request was made for the matter to be adjourned until this afternoon. Simon, 27, Alexander, 27, taxi-driver Randy Borris, 24, and security guard Marley Charles, 27, are charged with offences arising out of a robbery at K&A Liquor Mart, Range Road, Five Rivers, Arouca, on May 20.
During yesterday’s hearing, investigator Sgt Carl Hosten made an application for the continued detention of $24,700 in cash which had been seized from the accused on May 20 in Arouca, on the basis that the money was either proceeds of crime or to be used in criminal activities. Alexander’s attorney Darril Giles later informed the court that the money belonged to Alexander and that receipts would be produced to prove he was the true owner. Giles also applied for Alexander’s personal effects to be returned to his family, including two video recorders allegedly taken from his home by the police. Giles said intimate footage of Alexander and his girlfriend was being circulated, via the Internet, a claim the prosecution denied, as they said the camcorders had been handed over to the Cyber Crimes Unit.
Indicating that the prisons’ authorities had acceded to Simon’s request last Thursday to be kept separate from other inmates while in prison, Heath said Simon would not be allowed to share a cell with any other prisoners, other than his co-accused while at the courthouse. Attorney Criston Williams who attended the hearing yesterday, informed the court, together with attorney Wayne Sturge, they intended to “make certain applications to the Director of Public Prosecutions with respect to this matter.” Williams also requested that the items taken from the proprietor of the liquor mart on May 20, including $185,807 and US$28,067, along with a case containing nine one-litre bottles of Johnnie Walker Black Scotch whisky, should be returned to the owner after they were photographed. Expressing concern about the “adverse pre-trial publicity” surrounding the matter, Giles reminded persons that the accused had only been charged and not convicted of any crime. Magistrate Ryan later warned reporters in the court that they should “exercise restraint in the manner in which they are commenting and reporting” so as not to unfairly prejudice the case.