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Teens plead guilty with cutlasses during Carnival
Two teenage revellers yesterday admitted to being armed with cutlasses in separate incidents during Carnival celebrations in San Fernando. The schoolboys, aged 17 and 16, from La Romaine, appeared before Deputy Chief Magistrate Mark Wellington in the San Fernando Magistrates Court and each pleaded guilty to having the weapons without reasonable excuse.
The older teen was arrested around 3.45 am on Carnival Monday by PC Christopher Garraway, who was on duty at Cipero Street. Police searched a knapsack which was strapped to the teenager’s back and found an 18-inch blade. He told them he had it for protection. Observing that the stainless steel blade was fairly new and sharp, the magistrate commented: “One blow and this will take off a man’s hand, and this is what he is walking around with at 17 years old. He would have used it if he had to. He would have christened it.”
However, the teenager’s attorney Michelle Rampaul said he was not a troublemaker and was a member of a J’Ouvert band. Saying the teenager used poor judgement, she said he took the cutlass from a friend. The teenager is due to write a plumbing examination on Monday, Rampaul said, as she asked the magistrate not to revoke his bail.
He had been granted $15,000 bail at the police station. The magistrate ordered a probation officer’s report and adjourned the matter to March 6. The other teenager was arrested around 8 pm on Carnival Tuesday when PC Garraway saw him with a 15-inch cutlass held upraised during an altercation with other people on Cipero Street, police prosecutor Cleyon Seedan said.
The teenager’s attorney, Rampaul, said he was a Form 4 student and a first offender. Wellington said: “He is a vagabond. He should not be in school. He was seen with it upraised. He could have chopped or killed somebody.” He denied the boy bail pending a probation officer’s report. Rampaul complained that there was a chicken pox outbreak at the Youth Training Centre (YTC), but the magistrate still remanded him to YTC and adjourned the matter to February 27.
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