By Andre Bagoo Saturday, October 19 2013
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Candidate after court: UNC St Joseph candidate Ian Alleyne (right) leaves the Port-of-Spain Magistrates' Court yesterday, with his attorneys Israel Kh...
WHEN OFFICERS sought to arrest him in 2012, Ian Alleyne, the UNC’s St Joseph bye-election candidate, said, “I ain’t going nowhere — you go have to handcuff me!”, according to formal submissions made in court yesterday by State prosecutor George Busby in the ongoing resisting police case brought against Alleyne.
While the Crime Watch host in March pleaded guilty to charges relating to the broadcast of a video showing a girl being raped, Alleyne still faces other charges in relation to the events that unfolded at Express House in 2012 in the months following the October 2011 broadcasts.
In particular, Alleyne is charged with the special statutory offence of “resisting a police officer in the execution of his duty”. The offence is established by Section 59 of the Police Service Act, and is arguably distinct from the narrower offence of resisting arrest.
The case was yesterday adjourned to November 5, one day after the St Joseph bye-election is due to be held, for ruling on a no-case submission which seeks to have the proceedings thrown out.
Four days after being announced as the UNC candidate, Alleyne was in court as Senior Magistrate Annette MacKenzie heard legal submissions from the State at the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court on St Vincent Street. Busby urged the magistrate to ignore a no-case submission made by Alleyne’s attorneys earlier this month, stating the evidence against Alleyne was overwhelmingly clear and had not been controverted by cross-examination or even denied by Alleyne’s lawyers. In fact, Alleyne’s lawyers yesterday made plain that they were not denying the facts and openly admitted Alleyne resisted.
“There is uncontroverted, unchallenged evidence in this case,” Busby said. “There has been no cross-examination. There can be no other logical interpretation of this evidence. Clearly on the substance of this case, this defendant resisted the officer in the execution of his duty. There is enough evidence before the court which is capable of proving the charge. The court should have no difficulty finding a case to answer.”
Busby said on the night of April 19, 2012, as police went to the building to arrest him for the broadcasts, Alleyne showed “increasing forms of resistance”. He said after the arresting officer, ASP Ajith Persad told his lawyer he was there to arrest him, he did not surrender to the front of the building. When Persad later held onto him — which Busby said Persad was entitled to do — Alleyne attempted to pull away while shouting, “I ain’t going nowhere — you go have to handcuff me!” He said Alleyne further threw himself onto the bonnet of a car.
“How can it be for the citizen to decide that he is not going to go with the police officer?” Busby said. “That would lead to complete chaos and anarchy. Citizens must submit to the lawful authority of the police. They cannot be encouraged in anyway to disobey the police. The police officer was acting in the execution of his duty on that day.”
The State attorney said it was clear the officer was there in pursuance to several of his functions, including investigations and arresting breaches of the peace. He said the officer had a general statutory power to arrest without warrant.
Busby criticised the conduct of Alleyne’s then attorney, Om Lalla, who is ironically competing against Alleyne as the ILP candidate in the same St Joseph bye-election. Busby said when Persad arrived at Express House on the day in question, Persad first spoke with Lalla at the front of the building and told Lalla that the police had come to arrest Alleyne in relation to the broadcast investigation. Busby said the uncontested evidence was that Lalla said he would return with Alleyne in five minutes. This never happened.
“One would have hoped the police could take the word of a lawyer,” Busby said. “The lawyer told him they would be back in five minutes. More than one hour later, they exited through the back entrance.” A sombre-looking Alleyne sat in court. He sat in the prisoner’s dock wearing a tightly-tailored suit, a purple tie, silver and amber cufflinks, a large ring with a mint stone on his right hand and, of course, his trademark white-rimmed spectacles.
Alleyne’s attorney, Israel Khan SC, said the State’s case was misconceived, because the arrest of Alleyne was defective. He said the State needed a warrant to arrest Alleyne for a breach of the Sexual Offences Act in relation to the broadcasts. But Khan also confirmed that his team was not denying any of the facts.
“Yes, he resisted it. We accept everything. We are not offering an excuse here,” he said. “But what we are saying is that the police officer was not acting in the execution of his duty. You cannot arrest a person for that particular offence under the Sexual Offences Act without a warrant.” Furthermore, he said, “The man who actually showed the film, why did they not charge him?”
The magistrate indicated that she needed time to study the submissions and get the transcripts of the submissions. She initially sought to adjourn the matter to November 1 but there was objection from Khan.
“You are bringing us too close to the fourth,” Khan said, referring to the bye-election date of November 4. The magistrate replied, “That is not my concern. My concern is reading the submissions and ruling.” Busby said, “I would like to categorically refute that the court should take into consideration that which has been mentioned.” The magistrate then set a date of November 5. “Is that date convenient?” she asked.
Khan replied, “I will have to find out when the swearing-in will be.”
“Mr Khan!” said Mac Kenzie.