Journalist summoned in FB message case

Threats to PM’s wife, daughter

A SUMMONS is to be issued for a journalist to attend court in a case involving a 25-year-old man from south Trinidad, charged with using threatening language via social media to the Prime Minister’s wife and daughter.

The reporter, Sharlene Rampersad of Guardian Media Ltd, is a prosecution witness in the case in which Rayad Mohammed is charged with sending the offensive message by phone. He reappeared on Friday in the Siparia magistrates’ court before magistrate Ava Vandenburg, who agreed to issue a summons for Rampersad to attend court. Vandenburg was told that Cpl Darwin Badree, who laid the charge, has been experiencing grave difficulty in seeking Rampersad’s co-operation to facilitate the filing of her witness statement.

Mohammed had pleaded not guilty to the charge that on July 30, 2017, at Belle View Industrial Estate, South Oropouche, he sent a grossly offensive message by phone which was posted on Facebook. It read, “Someone should find Rowley daughter and wife and slit their throats and rape them.”

State attorney Mauriceia Joseph had told the magistrate that the prosecution was proceeding via paper committal.

On Friday,Vandenberg was told all the prosecution witnesses’ statements, except Rampersad’s, have been sworn to and filed.

If Rampersad, who has already given a statement to the police, fails to attend court on January 28, when the case will again come up for hearing, the prosecution has the option to ask the magistrate to issue a bench warrant.

ACP Totaram Dookhie, who led the investigations, acting Supt Kent Ghisyawan and Badree attended Friday’s hearing.

Mohammed, who is being represented by attorney Hasine Shaikh, is on $500 bail. The offence carries a maximum fine of $200 or imprisonment for a month.

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