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Machel Escapes (with CNC3 video)
“The justice system did its job and God is the boss,” a relieved Machel Montano said yesterday, an hour after he was sentenced by magistrate Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor. Montano spoke with reporters while embracing his lawyer Dana Seetahal SC at her chambers.
He and Kernal Roberts were ordered to pay fines and compensation totalling $53,200 to the victims of a 2007 assault. The hearing closed the book on the five-year-long saga which resulted in his being found guilty on four counts of assault and using obscene language.
Montano said he would not to let it affect him as he continued to strive for excellence in his career. He was crowned the 2013 Groovy Soca Monarch and also shares the 2013 Power Soca Monarch title with Austin “SuperBlue” Lyons.
They had to wait until yesterday afternoon to learn their fate because the magistrate was caught in a massive traffic jam from the Sea Lots, Port-of-Spain, protests. At about 10 am Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar told Seetahal, along with Roberts’ attorney Keith Scotland and prosecutor George Busby, that Baboolal-Gafoor was stuck in traffic and had asked for the matter to be stood down to 1 pm, when she would sentence them.
After the hearing, Montano and Roberts emerged from the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court with large smiles and praising God. Accompanied by their attorneys, they and their entourage, which included Montano’s parents and girlfriend, emerged to shouts of “we love you” from passersby and drivers who honked their horns.
Thanking his family, friends, fans and legal team—Keith Scotland, Daniel Khan, John Heath, Larry Williams and Seetahal—Montano vowed to forge ahead with his career and put that behind him.
“Our work is not done. Kernal and I have legacies to carry on. We have fans and a lot of people depending on us and working under us. We are not going to turn our backs on anything. We are going forward now and setting this behind us with full confidence in the Lord,” Montano said.
Pledging to continue living his life one day at a time, Montano added: “I would like to say thank you very much to the public. The love is very much appreciated. “When you rest your head at night, you need love and everybody needs love and I am grateful for that. I have a love for that and that is probably the thing that keeps me going and allows me to live one day at a time.”
Asked if he would be issuing another apology to the victims, Montano declined to comment and instead turned reporters to Roberts, who simply said: “Thank God this is over now and we can get back to our lives.” Montano’s mother Liz later said: “I feel very good because it’s two men I believe in.”
Montano, 37, was charged with five offences arising out of a fracas outside the Zen nightclub on April 26, 2007. Songwriter/producer Kernal Roberts, 31, was also charged with two counts of assault resulting from the same incident. Rodney “Benjai” Le Blanc and Joel “Zan” Feveck had also been charged alongside Montano and Roberts.
Le Blanc and Feveck were acquitted of one and two assault charges respectively, on December 10, 2012.
Montano was fined a total of $13,700 and ordered to pay $13,500 in compensation to Russell Pollonais, Brandis Brown, Janelle Lee Chee and Gerard Bowrin. He was reprimanded and discharged for the offence of using obscene language.
Roberts was fined a total of $13,000 and ordered to pay compensation amounting to $11,000 to Brown and Pollonais.
1. Guilty of assaulting Gerard Bowrin: Fined $300 or two months’ jail in default. Compensation: $1,000 or six weeks’ simple imprisonment in default.
2. Guilty of assaulting Janelle Lee Chee: fined $400 or three months’ jail in default. Compensation: $1,500 or six weeks’ imprisonment.
3. Guilty of assaulting Brandis Brown: fined $3,000 or six months’ jail. Compensation: $3,000 or six weeks’ imprisonment.
4. Guilty of assaulting Russell Pollonais: fined $10,000 or two years jail in default. Compensation: $8,000 or six weeks jail in default.
5. Guilty of using obscene language: Discharged.
1. Guilty of assaulting Brandis Brown: Fined $3,000 or six months’ jail in default. Compensation: $3,000 or six weeks’ imprisonment.
2. Guilty of assaulting Russell Pollonais: Fined $10,000 or two years’ jail in default. Compensation: $8,000 or six weeks’ imprisonment.
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