Neighbours and friends of 25-year-old Akel “Christmas” James are disputing the police’s claims over the circumstances surrounding his death.
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Chutney Soca Monarch patron fined $9,000
One of three patrons who failed the breathalyser test after attending the Chutney Soca Monarch finals on Saturday has been banned from driving for three years and slapped with a $9,000 fine. They were held early Sunday morning after the competition at Skinner Park, San Fernando. The hefty penalty was imposed Monday on clothes vendor Reynold Seeballack because it was the second time in three years he had been charged for driving under the influence.
In 2010, 24-year-old Seeballack was also fined for drunk driving. He was arrested around 3.30 am on Sunday at Cipero Road, San Fernando. “I was liming in the Chutney Brass and I had some beers,” Seeballack told the police. Three breathalyser tests recorded readings of 95, 80 and 76 microgrammes respectively. The legal limit is 35. Seeballack’s attorney Subhas Panday said Seeballack’s mother was supposed to drive but had forgotten her driver’s permit.
“One foolishness led to another,” Panday said. He suggested that fete promoters should ensure patrons were subjected to breathalyser tests before they left the event. “The promoter laughing going to the bank this morning,” Panday said. The magistrate disagreed. She said people had to be responsible for their own actions and educate themselves and said drinking and driving was no longer the norm and no longer acceptable in society.
She ordered Seeballack to pay $1,000 forthwith and the remainder by March 28, otherwise, he will serve three years in jail. When patron Chandranka Maraj was also stopped by the police, he admitted to drinking. “I drink three Royal and three drinks of scotch in the Chutney,” he said. Maraj also failed the tests, with readings of 68, 51 and 48 microgrammes. The magistrate told him to get a designated driver if he was going to drink alcohol. He was fined $1,200, which he paid.
Anthony Charles, a shipping agent, thought if he slept for about two-and- half to three hours in his car after drinking at the show he would be okay to drive. However, when the tests were done on him he was above the legal limit by 15 microgrammes. The magistrate gave him a day to pay a fine of $1,000 or serve three months’ hard labour.
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