A 39-YEAR-OLD man yesterday appeared before a Princes Town Magistrate on charges including sexual assault against two sisters aged nine and 14. On being denied bail, the accused through his attorney, told the magistrate he is fearful for his life if placed in the general prison population at remand yard.
Defence attorney Yohan Pancham made the application on behalf of his client Reeshie Surajbally, 39, a technician who appeared before Senior Magistrate Rajendra Rambachan in the Fist Court. PC Alcala of the Child Protection Unit (CPU) charged Surajbally with two counts of kidnapping (one for each minor); two counts of serving alcohol and two counts of sexual assault.
The charges stemmed from an alleged incident in the Princes Town district on Tuesday.
As police walked him to the courthouse, a crowd jeered at Surajbally, shouting insults with an elderly crying out, “Let him go…we will deal with him!” Magistrate Rambachan ordered the public gallery to be cleared as he heard the case in-camera (in private). Both sisters were not present.
The charges against Surajbally, a father of two of Lothians Road, Princes Town, were laid indictably and he was not called upon to enter a ‘guilty’ or ‘not-guilty’ plea. Court prosecutor Sgt Roget Richardson objected to bail on three grounds.
First, the prosecutor submitted, the criminal record tracing was not done on the accused. Secondly, if granted bail, the prosecution believes attempts may be made to interfere with witnesses or obstruct the course of justice. And lastly, Sgt Richardson submitted, the accused should be kept in custody for his own protection.
Attorney Pancham, in his bail application, also expressed concern for his client’s safety while in police custody. For safety reasons, the attorney asked the magistrate to have Surajbally isolated from other prisoners as he (the accused) had indicated he was fearful for his life.
Magistrate Rambachan said the court is not empowered to make such orders to the prison authorities.
Instead, the magistrate referred the attorney to the Prisons and Police services to raise his concerns.
Magistrate Rambachan then denied Surajbally bail and remanded him into custody to return to court on Wednesday May 25. Contacted for comment last night, Commissioner of Prisons Sterling Stewart said special provisions would be made to protect Surajbally. Stewart said a risk assessment was done yesterday and it was decided that Surajbally would be placed in a secured area by himself and he would be monitored around the clock.