A 43-year-old Defence Force Corporal, accused of kidnapping and raping three schoolboys over two years, has failed in his third attempt to obtain bail.
Delivering an oral decision at the end of a brief appeal at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain, yesterday morning, Appellate Judges Alice Yorke-Soo Hon, Mark Mohammed, and Prakash Moosai dismissed an appeal, in which Cpl Sterling Brent Figaro was challenging the decision of a High Court Master who refused his second application for bail.
Mohammed, who presented the panel’s decision, noted that the Master made an error when she denied Figaro bail based on the ground that he may face attacks from the victims’ families if he is released pending trial.
Mohammed ruled that there was no evidence before the court that could have buttressed the Master’s concerns over Figaro’s safety.
He also ruled that the Master improperly considered the seriousness of the offences, Figaro is accused of, as a determinative factor for bail.
Mohammed did note that such considerations could be “thrown in the pot” when making the assessment.
Despite the Master’s errors, Mohammed ruled that he and his colleagues were still entitled to deny Figaro bail on the ground that he may commit additional offences once released.
According to evidence presented in the appeal, the attacks on the teens, ages 12, 14, and 16, occurred between June 2017 and November, last year.
Figaro is accused of kidnapping the boys and sexually penetrating them several times. With two of the boys, Figaro allegedly pretended to be a police officer and threatened them with a gun before sexually assaulting them.
Figaro, a divorced father of three with 22 years’ service in the Defence Force, was arrested by officers of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) hours after the last attack allegedly occurred.
Figaro made the bail application to the Master after he was denied bail by a Magistrate in his first court appearance.
Figaro was represented by Allan Anderson, while Nigel Pilgrim represented the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).