THE son of Education Minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh made his first appearance in court yesterday afternoon, two weeks after he allegedly assaulted a man with a cutlass outside Brooklyn Bar in Woodbrook.
Shane Aleong, who carries his mother's surname, was brought before Senior Magistrate Annette McKenzie in the Port of Spain Fourth (A) Court shortly after 3 p.m. on three charges–assault occasioning actual bodily harm, possession of a weapon and using obscene language.
Aleong, 28, of Ellerslie Park, Maraval, pleaded not guilty to all three charges which allegedly occurred along Carlos Street, on the morning of September 19.
He was charged yesterday morning by Sgt Christopher Joshua of the Port of Spain Criminal Investigations Department (CID), following investigations led by ASP Ajith Persad.
Defence attorney Ravi Rajcoomar, who along with John Heath represented Aleong, told the court his client had been "subjected to a media campaign" following the airing of a video which depicted a man hitting 56-year-old Gregory Wight with the flat side of a cutlass as he purchased doubles from a vendor along the pavement outside the bar.
Rajcoomar said Aleong voluntarily surrendered to officers of the Port of Spain CID on Monday and fully cooperated with the officers. This went to show that he would attend court whenever he was required to do so, said the attorney.
He further submitted that Aleong was currently employed as a private information technology (IT) consultant.
"He has a degree (in IT) and is currently seeking his Master's degree," said Rajcoomar.
Police prosecutor Sgt Rawle Ramharack said the prosecution was not objecting to bail as Aleong had been traced and that there was no criminal record attached to his name.
McKenzie proceeded to grant bail in the sum of $25,000 to be approved by a Clerk of the Peace III, but this prompted the attorneys to ask that the approval on the bail bond be removed.
Rajcoomar said bail which is to be approved by a Clerk of the Peace III usually takes longer to secure as opposed to other bail bonds.
He said, given the time the matter was called, there would be difficulties in having the bail secured.
However, McKenzie stated this was the procedure that needed to be followed regardless of who is brought before the court charged with any offence.
"This is the procedure that has to be followed. Why should this defendant be treated differently than anyone else?" she asked.
The attorneys asked that a cash alternative be granted.
In addition to the $25,000 bail bond, Aleong was also granted a cash alternative of $10,000 to cover all three charges.
He will return to court on October 9.