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Businessman reprimanded on curfew charges
Businessman Anselm George walked out of the Port-of-Spain Magistrates Court yesterday, relieved and grateful after he was reprimanded and discharged on two charges that included a breach of curfew and resisting arrest.
Speaking to reporters minutes after the ruling, George said, “It’s a decision in which justice was served.” George, 42, of Diego Martin, was charged on October 26, 2011 with committing the offences. Following the trial, Magistrate Melvin Daniel declared George guilty on both counts on November 23, 2012.
In his ruling yesterday, Daniel said he considered George’s clean record, his zeal to complete his assigned work and the time of the offence. The father of three, who owns a garage, was arrested while he was in his yard. George became the first man to challenge his arrest during the state of emergency.
The case also created history when an MP was summoned to explain what had been said in Parliament, in reference to the term “out of doors.” On May 21, 2012, Daniel issued a witness summons commanding then National Security Minister John Sandy to appear in court to give evidence against George, who had been charged under the Emergency Powers Curfew Order.
Sandy was summoned to clarify the meaning of the term “out of doors,” which he had used in Parliament on October 25, 2011. At the time, Sandy had been seeking to clear up statements made by former director of public affairs of the police service, Sharon Lee Assang, who had told citizens they could be arrested even if they were in the yards of their homes after the curfew took effect at 11 pm.
Relieved the matter was over, George urged the public to be careful when listening to politicians as he said, “Coming from the National Security Minister at the point in time in Parliament and not a political platform, as he instructed the public on how they should move, I felt confident I could have listened to him. I proceeded to my garage, where I was conducting business, not expecting to be in breach of the law, and then I was arrested for breaking curfew.
“In the future, the public, like myself, should be more vigilant in taking instructions from politicians because we tend to believe them until we reach in a position like I was.”
George said he would seek legal advice on the way forward. He said, “My entire family was traumatised by this incident. I spent two nights in custody and someone needs to be responsible for my unfair and unjust incarceration.”
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