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Schoolboys in court

Thursday, March 20 2014

THE Vice Principal of the ASJA Boys College yesterday begged a Chaguanas magistrate not to remand nine students from the school, who appeared in court charged with disturbing the peace, to the Youth Training Centre (YTC) in Arouca.

In the end, Magistrate Bramanand Dubay released the nine into the custody of their parents but warned that if any of them comes before him, on new charges, it would be straight to YTC.

The nine, whose ages range from 14 to 17, all pleaded not guilty to charges of disturbing the peace at the school compound in Charlieville on Tuesday. They appeared in the Third Court.

One of the defendants, is the son of a policeman based in Central Division. All nine have been suspended from school in the past for various problems including possession of a weapon, possession of explosives and fighting.

The nine were arrested around midday on Tuesday, at the school, shortly after a fight broke out in which a student sustained a stab wound to the face. The students’ attorney Taradath Singh told the court the incident arose from a beating inflicted by two other students, who were not charged by police.

Prosecutor Sgt Ken Ali stated that the nine were all suspended from school. As he began reading the list of suspensions and said that one of the accused was suspended for fighting, that student’s mother who is a police officer, quickly interjected saying her son was suspended not for fighting but for using a cellphone.

Sgt Ali told the court he was concerned about the safety of other students at the school if the students were released rather than remanded. Magistrate Dubay expressed the view that the young defendants needed to be placed in a controlled institution, such as an industrial school or the YTC, to be given proper training.

“ We have to stem the scourge of this behaviour before it erupts,” Magistrate Dubay said. But the Vice Principal pleaded with the court to not remand the students, saying that they all have crucial exams in the near future and were told they could return to school to collect their exam timetables.

Magistrate Dubay said ASJA Boys College has a good track record and it was sad to see the school’s name being sullied. In the end, he set bail at $3,000 with a surety for each student and released them into the custody of their parents. The case was adjourned to April 16.

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