The mob jeered and cursed Ali, and many of the women cried as if the victim had been their own daughter. The mob tried to jostle the police and soldiers to get at Ali as he was taken out of the Chaguanas Police Station, on the corner of Chaguanas Main Road and Railway Road. He was escorted across Railway Road to the court.
“Oh God! Oh God! We want he blood! We want he blood! Officers release him to us, we want he blood!” the mob screamed. They closed in on the officers and demanded their chance to administer their own justice. “Don’t waste our taxpayers money to have a long trial, have justice now!” they shouted as they rushed at Ali. The burly soldiers and police, bracing their chests with their guns, pushed the mob back and warned them.
The crowd had gathered outside of the police station and court from at about 8 am.
When an Amalgamated Security prisoners van pulled up at the court, some of the people began to shout at the prisoners, thinking Ali was among them.
“The man you all looking for not here, but don’t frighten we too want to see him and deal with him,” a prisoner shouted in reply to the crowd. The prisoners were taken out of the van and led inside of the court and into the prisoners’ dock. Later, as he was led to the court, Ali, 28, did not say a word in spite of the commotion around him. The crowd kept close, not intimidated by the heavy police and army presence, but they were not allowed onto the compound of the court as the gate was closed after Ali was taken safely inside. A few women went up into the faces of the soliders and police officers, including Insp Johnny Abraham, who had to calm down one woman.
Hope’s mother Sherma Rajoon and father Ronald Arismandez were not seen at the court. A man, who did not want to give his name but said he was related to Hope, sat in the courtroom and stared at Ali. The man was crying. The police escort did not take Ali to the prisoners’ dock but led him to the front bench of the First Court. At about 9.50 am, Senior Magistrate Nanette Forde-John told Ali to stand before her. She read out the charge that at an unknown date between Saturday May 24, 2008 to Tuesday May 27, 2008, Hope Arismandez, eight, was murdered at Connector Road, Pierre Road, Chaguanas. Ali, she said, did not have to enter a plea because the offence was an indictable one.
Forde-John then asked Ali if he had an attorney.
“No, I don’t have a lawyer, ma’am,” he answered. Forde-John then said a Legal Aid Attorney will be appointed to defend him. Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Wayne Rajbansee told Forde-John that three witnesses were in court and were ready to testify. He also said that at the next hearing four witnesses would be present. Forde-John then adjourned the case to June 9. The hearing only took about ten minutes. PC Sunil Ramoutar, Insp Abraham and Insp Stanley Ramdeen then took Ali into their custody and led him out of the court. The crowd, who had waited for them, erupted again.
“Hang him high. Let him die how Hope died. Give him to us, we want he blood. The land crying out for that man blood,” they shouted.
Several people shouted expletives as he was taken back across the street to the station. Police detained one woman for using obscene language and took her into the station. The woman got a stern warning about her conduct and was released.
The mob did not disperse until a few hours after Ali was taken back to the station. Their presence prompted senior officers, including Sen Supt Rattan Singh, to come out of the station to quell the crowd.
Hope went missing from her home at Umesh Drive, Lime Head Road, Chaguanas on Saturday night. Her body was found in a canefield on Tuesday. Her funeral will take place at St Mary’s Roman Catholic Church, Freeport tomorrow.