Last update: 11-Dec-2013 6:16 am
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Trinidad & Tobago Guardian Online
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Car bomb threat causes lockdown at South court
Four magistrate’s courts in San Fernando were placed on security lock-down on Thursday after police received information that a car loaded with explosives was heading for one of the buildings. Heavily armed police officers were stationed at strategic points outside the San Fernando, Princes Town, Siparia and Point Fortin Magistrates’ Court shortly before 9 am as a preventative measure in light of the threat.
Operations at the San Fernando courthouse came to a complete halt as officers cordoned off Lord Street, Court Street and Harris Promenade South. Police vehicles were also strategically placed across the roadway and barriers regulated vehicular traffic away from the front of the San Fernando court.
Prisoners, who were already at the courthouse for their cases, were remanded in absentia (in absence) around 9.45 am and sent back to Remand Yard. Assistant Commissioner of Police (South) Fitzroy Fredericks confirmed that there was a security concern which resulted in a heightened police presence at the court houses.
Fredericks said initial reports suggested that a bomb was placed at a court but information received later suggested that a black Laurel car loaded with explosives was en route to an unspecified court. By mid-morning the information was determined to be specific to the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court.
“Having made checks we did not find any car. None was intercepted. We did checks at the (San Fernando) court and it is cleared. We still have some surveillance taking place but we have nothing untoward,” he said. Fredericks, however, gave the assurance that the police were still continuing their investigations.
Officers of the Divisional Response Team Taskforce and CID were part of the operation that was co-ordinated by Senior Superintendent David Lewis and Supt Hackshaw. Judiciary Information and Protocol Division Manager Jones P. Madeira said staff remained in the San Fernando courthouse but the building was closed to the public.
The threat, he said, was external to the court and its precincts. “The Judiciary immediately implemented security arrangements including the restricting of movement of people into the building,” he said. Prisoners heading to the Princes Town court, he said, were also sent back to Remand Yard after being remanded into custody.
Security was also increased around the Princes Town court as officers blocked off Court Street with barriers. However proceedings at that court continued as normal. Heightened security was also placed around the Siparia and Point Fortin courts. Court operations were expected to return to normal yesterday.
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