Roberts, son of deceased Calypso icon Aldwyn “Lord Kitchener” Roberts was found guilty of two assault charges last December, while Montano — the reigning joint Soca Monarch (he tied with Austin ‘Super Blue’ Lyons for the title) — was found guilty of assaulting Browne, Pollonais, Gerard Bowrin and Janelle Lee Chee on April 26, 2007 outside the Zen nightclub in Port-of- Spain. The court also found Montano guilty of using obscene language.
Two others, Joel “Zan” Fezeck, a member of Montano’s HD Family and soca artiste Rodney “Benjai” Le Blanc were found not guilty of charges against them. On February 25, Montano was fined $13,700 and ordered to pay a total of $13,500 in compensation to the four assault victims. Roberts was fined $13,000 and ordered to pay $11,000 compensation to two assault victims. The maximum penalty for such offences is a jail term.
Speaking at his Rain-o-Rama home in Diego Martin yesterday, Roberts maintained his innocence saying he never touched anyone during the fracas but is sorry for what happened that night.
“I say sorry to Russell Pollonais and Brandis Browne. I apologise to them on behalf of the team for what happened. I am not glad that they were knocked out and ended up in hospital. It is nothing to celebrate and I am sorry that happened to them,” Roberts said.
Asked what was the backlash following the court case, Roberts said the backlash for him was having a conviction recorded against his name. He revealed that both he and Montano are now weighing their legal options with an appeal against the conviction, a distinct possibility.
“I have a conviction on my name. We are weighing our options so we can work on cleaning our record because I maintain my innocence and so does Machel,” Roberts said. On Monday, State attorneys filed an appeal against the sentences (fines) meted out to Montano and Roberts by a Port-of-Spain magistrate.
Newsday learnt that the appeal was filed on grounds of the refusal of the presiding magistrate to impose more severe sentences against Montano and Roberts. An attorney yesterday explained that the magistrate in question will now have to give reasons for the type of punishment handed down to Montano and Roberts. After this is done, the attorney said, the appeal will be taken to the High Court where it will be listed for hearing at the Court of Appeal.
Recalling the fracas that took place six years ago, Roberts said he and Montano had a heated verbal exchange with four individuals which turned into a brawl, “really quickly”.
“We didn’t come close to a fight but we have convictions to our name. I was on the road cursing...but I didn’t get any obscene charge. What I did, they didn’t charge me for. What I didn’t do, they charged me. And it’s the same thing with Machel,” Roberts said.
Asked his feelings on public criticisms over his and Montano’s convictions, Roberts said that was expected as, “Trinidadians like bacchanal.” But he is choosing to ignore it.
Even with convictions to their names, Montano and the HD Family continue to perform including overseas with the latest foreign gig being the “Marley’s Nine Mile Music Festival” in Florida on March 2.
Admitting that he and Montano had learnt a lot from their convictions, Roberts said, “If we see trouble on the left, we go right, we don’t want to be involved in anything like that again.”