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14 sex charges for Tobago principal

By KARL E. CUPID Tobago Bureau Tuesday, February 11 2014

A TOBAGO primary school principal who is also a Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) pastor and a father of five was yesterday granted $400,000 bail with a surety to be approved by a Clerk of the Peace when he appeared in the Scarborough Magistratesí Court charged with several sexual offences involving pupils under his charge.

David Smith of Goodwood, east Tobago appeared in the First Court before Magistrate Glen Mahabir. Smith, the principal of Scarborough SDA Primary School, who is currently on suspension by the Tobago SDA Mission, is facing 14 charges including ten counts of indecent assault and four counts of serious indecency, against pupils of the school.

The offences were allegedly committed during a period of a year. The alleged victims are between ten and 12 years of age.

Charges in the matter were laid by WPC Parks of Scarborough Police Station and detective WPC Moore of Scarborough CID.

When the matter was called at about 11.05 am, persons seated in the courtís public gallery as well as members of the media were ordered to leave the courtroom by Mahabir, after Prosecutor Ag Sgt Marvin Campbell informed the magistrate that Smith was charged under the Sexual Offences Act.

Police sources indicated this instruction by the court was done according to provisions of the Sexual Offences Act, in order to protect the identity of alleged victims whose names would have been called out in open court during the reading of the charges.

Smith, according to court sources, was not called on to plead to any of the charges which were all laid indictably and thus requires trial before a Judge in the High Court if so ordered by the magistrate, at the end of a preliminary inquiry to test.

In granting bail, Mahabir set out several conditions which must be adhered to by the accused.

The magistrate ordered that Smith must report to the Roxborough Police Station, in east Tobago once a week.

The accused was also ordered not to establish any contact with the alleged victims and/or their relatives and he must not communicate or attempt to communicate with the alleged victims.

When bail was secured just after 2 pm, Smith was greeted by a crowd of his supporters including several members of the SDA Church, some of whom cheered loudly as he emerged from the courthouse. He is to reappear in court on March 10.

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