Crime Watch television host Ian Alleyne yesterday escaped a custodial sentence when he was fined $30,000 after being found guilty of three charges under the Sexual Offences Act.He was charged under Section 32 (2) which makes it an offence to reveal the identity of a rape victim during a broadcast.In the videos, aired on three consecutive days in October 2011, the footage identified the under-age victim on national television.
Delivering the ruling yesterday in the Port-of-Spain Eighth Court, Chief Magistrate Marcia Ayers-Caesar told Alleyne that from those to whom much is given, much is expected.She said while Alleyne's action to assist was commendable, it was important to ensure he did not "cross the line or trample on the rights of others.""Responsible action is needed and expected," Ayers-Caesar said.
The charges stem from a video which was aired on the Caribbean Communications Network (CCN) TV6 on October 24, 25 and 26, 2011. After he left the court yesterday, Alleyne broke his silence for the first time and claimed TV6's head of news Dominic Kalipersad had viewed the footage before it was shown and had granted him permission to air the controversial video.
Speaking to reporters on the steps of the courthouse, Alleyne said: "Subsequent to that tape coming into my possession, I took the footage on that day and showed the individual who is assigned to monitor my stuff before airing."A lot of people might be of the opinion that I took this tape and just aired it on national television but I was given permission to show that tape on national television by Dominic Kalipersad and I want the entire nation to know that."
When contacted yesterday, Kalipersad denied having given Alleyne authorisation to air the video."Mr Alleyne has told an untruth," Kalipersad said.He said he had been advised by his attorneys not to comment further.Alleyne, who initially pleaded not guilty on April 14, 2012, and later changed his plea last March 6, said the revelation was meant to "clear the air" and show the country he was not a madman.
Ian Allyne fined
He is also charged with resisting arresting officer ASP Ajith Persad and has maintained a not guilty plea in respect of that charge. He will reappear on May 1, before Senior Magistrate Annette Mc Kenzie in the Fourth Court to answer that charge.Alleyne has been given two weeks in which to pay all the money, or in default, he will serve 24 months' hard labour in relation to each charge.
Representing the state was George Busby assisted by Simonne Jaggernauth.CCN also faces three similar charges under the Sexual Offences Act, as well as six charges under the Telecommunications Act for alleged breaches of its licence and concession, which were issued by the Telecommunications Authority (TATT).CCN has maintained it's not guilty plea in relation to all the charges.Their attorneys, Sophia Chote, SC, Michelle Solomon-Baksh and Trevor Clarke, will return to court on May 13.
Maintaining that some good had resulted from the incident as the perpetrators had been found and taken before the court, Alleyne said he knew the conviction would have an impact on his aspirations to high office in the future.Asked yesterday if he felt set up and why he had now sought to apportion blame, Alleyne said:
"I don't know if I was deliberately set up by Dominic Kalipersad. I want the entire nation to know that before I aired that tape, there is a policy that once I bring footage to the studio, it must be viewed by my editor."At that time, they had assigned Kalipersad to review my content and when I brought that tape, he saw that tape.
"For days it went on and I don't want anybody to ever think that Ian Alleyne is a madman to just air a tape on national television like that. In fact, from then to now everything I aired on national television must be reviewed. So don't ever let anybody think that of me. I was given permission by Dominic Kalipersad."
Asked if he was ready to deal with the fallout his statement would create, Alleyne revealed that his contract with CCN was due to end on April 8, but stressed:
"I have absolutely no problem with Kalipersad. I have no absolutely no problem with TV6. I am very comfortable working there and I have had no bad memories or anything negative to say about TV6. They treat me well."
Alleyne said his attorney was in receipt of contract renewal documents from CCN.