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Appeal Machel, Kernal sentences

Volney tells DPP:

By Keino Swamber keino.swamber@trinidadexpress.com

FORMER justice minister and former High Court judge Herbert Volney is suggesting that Director of Public Prosecutions Roger Gaspard would be well advised to appeal the sentence passed on soca star Machel Montano and songwriter Kernal Roberts on Monday.

Volney, in a posting on the on-line Yahoo social group jahajeedesi2005, said there were inconsistencies in the reasoning of Magistrate Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor.

Another contributor, using the name Dr Eric Williams, chastised Volney for "undermining the integrity and professionalism of a former colleague".

Williams said: "This calls for a severe reprimand from the Judicial Council and from the Cabinet to which he belongs" since "it's unbecoming and unprecedential."

Volney responded: "I am well placed to offer such an advice. Are you? And I am not in the Cabinet. I am not under the shackles of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and I maintain that in law the Magistrate's given reasons do not support her sentence.

"In this country there should be no sacred cows. We are not a monarchy with nobility. We are a Republic. Basdeo Panday was jailed. And for a conviction of beating the hell out of a young man, given the evidence, I can assure you that I and probably you would now be at Golden Grove."

On December 10 last year, Montano was found guilty by Baboolal-Gafoor of assaulting Brandis Browne, Russell Pollonais, Janelle Lee Chee and Gerard Bowrin and using obscene language outside the Zen nightclub on the morning of April 26, 2007.

The Express learnt that a report is being prepared for Gaspard to review before a determination is made on whether to appeal the sentence or not.

Section 30 of the Offences Against the Person Act, Chapter 11:08 provides for a maximum term of imprisonment of five years for the charge of assault occasioning actual bodily harm for which Montano was convicted.

The charge of common assault, which Montano was also convicted for, carries a maximum sentence of a fine of $4,000 and a term of imprisonment for two years.

Baboolal-Gafoor ordered Montano to pay fines and compensation totaling $27,000.

Roberts was ordered to pay a fine of $3,000, and pay compensation of $3,000 to Browne.

For beating Pollonais, he was ordered to pay $10,000 and $8,000 in compensation or serve as much as two years in jail.

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