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Cheers for Machel

By Gyasi Gonzales gyasi.gonzales@trinidadexpress.com

Some wanted him jailed while others felt he should be free.

Mixed feeling as to how Machel Montano should be punished for assault and using obscene language prevailed outside the Port of Spain Magistrates' Court yesterday while the soca superstar was awaiting his fate inside.

Sentencing was however postponed to February 25 as unlike one of Montano's songs this year, Magistrate Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor appeared not to be ready "to get on" with her decision.

Around 11.30 a.m. one woman said she was outside the court since 5 a.m. and she had no apologies for "going to work late".

Members of the small crowd present said they simply wanted to be there to hear the news first — whether Montano was going to be given a custodial sentence, a fine or community service after he was found guilty last year of assault and using obscene language.

There seemed to be legal experts everywhere.

Some commenters (and there were many) said, "Machel have to pay like everybody else."

Another line commonly heard outside was "if it was me. I done get jail already".

Others were supportive.

Some people said that what happened back in 2007 was a fight which Montano's group won and they saw no reason for him to be jailed.

"He eh no criminal. He's a wining criminal but that's all, free de boy leh we wine nah," said one woman.

Another woman who appeared to be in her mid-50s, said, "I on vacation and I want to macco and see what going on."

The outside lobby area of the court was where a number of Montano's seemingly die-hard fans waited.

One woman sporting a mop of store-bought red hair began playing some of Montano's music on her Nokia cellphone and wined liberally to the bemusement of the police, the public and media present. She was later cautioned about her actions by a stern looking policewoman who warned her to "tone it down".

"But eh eh. Is Machel oui," she said before complying.

As Montano emerged, almost everyone, even those who had earlier condemned him, cheered and ran behind him as he walked out the court.

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