PLEADING GUILTY: Shantel Ali Bocas leaves the San Fernando Magistrates’ Court yesterday in handcuffs after pleading guilty to smoking tobacco in a bar in Marabella on Saturday night. See story on Page 4. –Photo: DAVE PERSAD

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Mom fined for smoking in bar

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

It seemed unusual that a woman and man caught smoking cigarettes at a bar in Marabella, were brought to court yesterday in handcuffs for violating the no-smoking law.

Shantel Ali Bocus, 20, of Princes Town and Marvin Trotman, 35, of San Fernando were charged separately under the Tobacco Control Act which has been in force since February 2010.

The charge was laid under section 12(1) that no person shall smoke or hold a lighted tobacco product in any enclosed public place, enclosed workplace, or public conveyance.

The maximum fine for the offence is $10,000. Both were charged by constable Devon Meah and pleaded guilty.

They were held last Saturday at Kansas City Recreational Club at Southern Main Road, Marabella, and charged with holding or smoking a tobacco product in an enclosed public place.

Ali Bocus, the mother of a three-month-old son, was also charged with resisting arrest.

San Fernando Magistrate Natalie Diop was told that at around 4.45 a.m., the officer, who was dressed in uniform, was on duty inside the establishment.

Police prosecutor Sgt Chanardath Jhilmit said Ali Bocus had the object between her lips and there was smoke emanating from her mouth.

The officer spoke to her and also showed her the ‘no smoking’ signs in the bar.

She replied, “Come nah. Dais small ting.”

While attempting to place her under arrest, he said Ali Bocus pulled away violently saying, “Allyuh cyar arrest meh for a smoke. Leggo meh hand.”

In reading the evidence against Trotman, the court heard that when the officer told him of the offence, he said, “One Du Maurier officer. Gimme a bligh nah.”

Before the court yesterday, Ali Bocus said she had been unemployed since becoming pregnant and living with her mother.

Ali Bocus said she had done community service in the past for obscene language and asked that she be allowed to do the same for this offence.

Diop told Ali Bocus that given the maximum amount of the fine, Parliament must have considered it a serious offence, as it affects the health of everyone in the room.

Ali Bocus was fined $1,500 for smoking and $750 for resisting the officer in the execution of his duty.

In default of paying both fines in eight weeks, Ali Bocus will serve three months in prison.

Trotman, a labourer, told Diop he was highly intoxicated and “wasn’t in my clear head... I was wrong”.

The father of two, who had a previous conviction for possession of marijuana, was fined $3,000. He was given four weeks to pay the money or he will serve four months in prison.

“It may seem simple but smoking in a public place, the consequences are dire, life-threatening,” Diop said.
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