The men were all charged under the Anti-Gang Act (No10 of 2011).
All persons who were charged under the new law were remanded into custody for the duration of their trial or a minimum of four months, as it has been ordained in the Anti-Gang Act that accused persons will be unable to attain bail for 120 days.
Among the 23 men were reported gang leader Cedric Burke, 36, and gang member Keon Baine, 31, who were held last week by Port-of-Spain CID officers at the Hyatt Regency hotel in Port-of- Spain.
Burke was represented by attorney Kirk Hogan, while Baine was represented by a team of attorneys including Fitzgerald Hinds, Wayne Sturge, and Mario Merritt.
Burke was charged under Section 5(2) of the Act, and the charge was laid indictably and he was not called upon to enter a plea.
Hogan made formal applications for disclosure from the State, however, he was merely informed by police prosecutors that “it would be forthcoming.” Hogan said that contrary to the charge, his client was not a gang leader, but a regional contractor who recently obtained a construction contract from the National Committee for Self Help Limited. Newsday later learnt that the contract was valued at an estimated $300,000 and was given on August 23.
However, despite the submissions made by the attorney, Ayers-Caesar adjourned the matter until September 20.
Baine was charged under Section 5(1) of the Act. He pleaded not guilty to the charge.
His attorneys made similar submissions, requesting disclosure of any evidence and statements which could benefit their client. However, his matter was also adjourned to September 20.
PC Nobel Smith from PoS CID was the complainant in the matter.
On Friday at about 11.30 am, officers of the Port-of-Spain CID, acting on a tip-off from information provided to them by the Criminal Intelligence Unit (CIU), went to the Hyatt Regency, where they saw the two suspects in the company of a 22-year-old woman in the lobby. Officers later followed the group to the 16th floor where they detained them under the anti-gang legislation. Officers also seized cash from a safe in one of the two rooms where the men were staying and this was later handed over to relatives.
Devanand Singh of El Socorro was the second “gang leader” to be charged yesterday.
Singh was represented by senior attorney Theodore Guerra SC.
It was alleged that on August 25, at El Socorro, Singh was the leader of a gang, namely the “Devanand Gang.”
The senior attorney requested from the court the reason for the delay between the date of arrest of his client and the date he was charged. Guerra also asked for particulars of the charge namely what circumstances led the police complainant to the conclusion that Singh was a member and a leader of a gang. However, police prosecutors also informed the attorney that the requested information “would be forth coming.”
“So then, am I to understand that you arrested my client and brought him before the court and you are now going to seek evidence? This cannot be your worship,” Guerra argued.
The charge was laid indictably and Singh was not called upon to enter a plea.
This matter will resume on September 19.
Three other men, namely Donnie Dookie, Marvin James, and Ganesh Jagessar, were also charged for being members of the “Devanand Gang”. Their charge was laid summarily, and all three men pleaded not guilty.
They will reappear in court on September 19 as well.