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Prisoner threatens magistrates’ lives
Magistrates will continue to do their jobs without fear or favour. President of the T&T Magistrates’ Association Alexander Prince said so yesterday in response to a threat reportedly made to magistrates and court staff at the San Fernando Magistrates Court. Prince, in an interview with the T&T Guardian, admitted he had not been officially informed of the alleged threat but said the safety of all judicial officers remained a great concern. “Any threat to magistrates, as you know, is a serious concern for us and we will do everything in our power to ensure the safety or our magistrates because we have a duty to perform and we will do it fearlessly,” he said.
The T&T Guardian understands that Princes Town police jumped into alert mode yesterday after an anonymous male caller telephoned the Princes Town Magistrates Court’s main phone line at 1.30 pm and reported he had overheard a prisoner saying he was going to kill magistrates presiding at the San Fernando Magistrates Court if he was arrested again. He also said he heard the man say he would use grenades to carry out the attack. At the time of the call to the Princes Town courthouse, Senior Magistrates Debra Quintyne and Avason Quinlan, wife of acting Police Commissioner Stephen Williams, were presiding over matters. Police sources said court staff contacted police at the nearby Princes Town station.
With magistrates already rattled by the assassination of Senior Counsel Dana Seetahal two Sundays ago, police said officers immediately traced and obtained the caller’s number. He was then contacted and questioned. The informant admitted he had previous convictions and had spent time at St Ann’s Mental Hospital but said his information was good. Investigators went to find the man last evening as they continued investigations into his allegations. Prince told the T&T Guardian he was informally told of the threat but had no official confirmation. He added: “I cannot say if it is factual or propaganda. There will be those persons who may attempt to intimidate but magistrates are strong and we will perform our duties without fear. “Magistrates continue to be strong, to be fearless and I know my magistrates, I have no doubt that they will execute their duty without fear or favour or malice. We must be fearless at all times.”