On the day of the expected start of his trial, Alleyne changed his original “not-guilty” plea to “guilty” on the three charges laid under Section 32 (2) of the Sexual Offences Act, which makes it an offence to reveal the identity of a rape victim during a broadcast.
The charges stem from a video depicting the rape of a 13-year-old which was allegedly aired three times on television station TV6 in October 2011. Alleyne, however, maintains his not- guilty position relating to a charge of resisting arresting officer ASP Ajith Persad in the execution of his duties.
According to the Sexual Offences Act, the penalties for breaching Section 32 (2) is a fine of $25,000 and/or imprisonment for five years.
Alleyne’s trial and that of Caribbean Communications Network (CCN), the parent company of TV6, which is also facing similar charges (as Alleyne’s) as well as six charges under the Telecommunications Act, for alleged breach of the broadcast licence and concessions issued by the Telecommunications Authority (TATT), was expected to begin yesterday before Chief Magistrate Marica Ayers-Caesar. CCN, has maintained its not-guilty position on charges against it. At the start of yesterday’s hearing in the Eighth Court, Alleyne’s attorney Om Lalla indicated to Chief Magistrate Ayers- Caesar that his client is seeking to adopt a certain course of action by pleading guilty to all charges except resisting arrest.
After Alleyne pleaded guilty, the matter was adjourned to Monday when his attorney will offer a plea in mitigation following which, sentencing may be handed down. Prosecutor George Busby, who acknowledged that Alleyne’s about turn had caught him by surprise, will on Monday put forward the facts of the prosecution’s case.
The prosecution was ready to call 22 witnesses had the trial commenced.
Section 32 (2) of the Sexual Offences Act reads: ‘A person who publishes or broadcasts any matter contrary to subsection (1) is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of $25,000 and to imprisonment for five years. Subsection (2) refers to — (a) in the case of a publication in a newspaper or periodical, any proprietor, any editor and publisher of the newspaper or periodical; (b) in the case of any other publication, the person who publishes it; and (c) in the case of a broadcast a body corporate, which transmits or provides the programme in which the broadcast is made and any person having functions in relation to the programme corresponding to those of an editor of a newspaper
CCN is represented by Sophia Chote SC, Michelle Solomon-Baksh and Trevor Clarke. Alleyne was also represented by attorney Derrick Balliram while Simone Jaggernauth assisted Busby in the prosecution.