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Maxi man on sex charge

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin nikita.braxton@trinidadexpress.com

A maxi-taxi driver who allegedly kidnapped a 12-year-old boy, took him to a forested area and sexually assaulted the child, was yesterday remanded in prison custody, pending a criminal background trace.

Rodney Andy Lopez, 30, of Tableland was denied bail when he appeared before Princes Town magistrate Avason Quinlan.

She read three charges to him — two offences of indecent assault committed against a male at Charuma Agricultural Access Road, Tabaquite Road, Rio Claro on October 23 and on that day he took and carried away the child against his will.

The indictable charges were laid by constable Sastri Balliram.

Lopez was represented by defence attorneys Petronilla Basdeo and Shaun Teekasingh.

Basdeo said when Lopez found out on Saturday about the allegation and heard there was a warrant for his arrest, he went to the Tableland Police Station where he gave himself up to police.

He also gave a statement to officers, Basdeo told the court.

She said these were not the actions of a person who wanted to evade the police.

In her application for bail for her client, Basdeo said Lopez was not a flight risk and had “good family ties” with his mothers and brothers being present for the matter yesterday. Basdeo said he had no previous or pending matters before the court and in September he was granted a certificate of good character to get his new driver’s permit. 

Police prosecutor Krishna Bedassie however objected to Lopez being granted bail and asked for time to have him traced. He said with a new tracing system coming on stream yesterday, Lopez’s criminal background was unable to be checked over the weekend.

Quinlan granted Bedassie’s request and remanded Lopez into custody until Thursday for the tracing to be done.

It is alleged that in October the boy boarded a maxi-taxi in Princes Town on his way to meet his mother in Matilda, Princes Town. The driver passed the location and went to a lonely area in Rio Claro where he began undressing the child.

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