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Benjai spat in cop’s face upon arrest—witness
Soca artiste Rodney “Benjai” Le Blanc allegedly spat at PC Valentine Eastman “straight in the face,” Eastman said yesterday testifying against Le Blanc. The singer is accused of assaulting Eastman at a fete in 2010. Eastman took the witness stand in the San Fernando court before magistrate Natalie Diop where Le Blanc is on trial.
The incident allegedly took place after Le Blanc performed at a fete at San Fernando Hill on December 18, 2010. Constable Anthony Wolfe was expected to return for cross-examination yesterday by Le Blanc’s attorney Shalini Khan, but court prosecutor Sgt Marlon Bruce said Wolfe was not well and would not be attending court. However, he said Eastman was present, and called on him to testify. The trial will resume on April 3 and 4.
Eastman testified that he and other officers, including Wolfe, were on duty at the fete on December 18, 2010. He said around 1.05 am he was at the entrance to the venue when he heard Le Blanc being introduced to perform. Khan objected to Eastman testifying as to what Le Blanc had said, arguing it was irrelevant.
However, Bruce contended that Le Blanc had already admitted liability for the statements. Diop overruled the objection and allowed Eastman to continue. Eastman said three to five minutes into the performance, he heard Le Blanc, through the sound system, say, “All yuh fix the ..... mic. I go get lock up tonight.”
Eastman said as a result, he left the main entrance and went to the stage, where he saw Wolfe and other officers speaking to Le Blanc. He said Wolfe told Le Blanc he was under arrest and he replied, “I get lock up. Leh we go.”
Eastman said he put handcuffs on Le Blanc and started to escort him out of the party to a police vehicle when “a section of the crowd started booing and some even tried to block my path.” He said after five minutes he was able to leave the party and go to a police vehicle. “As I opened the left back door of that vehicle, a marked police vehicle, and attempted to place the defendant into the vehicle, he spit on me, straight in the face,” Eastman testified.
Eastman raised his hand and touched his right cheek as he testified about Le Blanc’s alleged actions. He said Le Blanc had a strong scent of alcohol on his breath and told him twice, loudly, “I is a high science man. I go deal with you personally.” Eastman said they took Le Blanc to the Mon Repos Police Station. Wolfe investigated and charged Le Blanc with assault. Khan is expected to resume her cross-examination of Wolfe and Eastman on the next date of hearing.
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