Tuesday, January 16, 2018

No bail: suspect on charges of fraud, stealing $.25m

Concerns over prison safety after sex allegations against minister...

A COUVA man who recently made certain sexual allegations against a Government minister was yesterday denied bail on larceny and fraud char­ges.

He was remanded into prison custody when he appeared in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court, charged with stealing close to quarter of a million dollars from six people and defrauding a travel agency of six airline tickets.

Magistrate Christine Charles said she was not willing to grant bail to 27-year-old Anthony Nester, based on a number of concerns raised by the prosecution, including the number of offences allegedly committed and clarity on the address where he lived.

Nester is accused of stealing $240,600 from the six people on various dates last year and early this year in Trincity, Curepe, Couva, Chaguanas and Arima. He was also alleged to have defrauded a travel agency of the tickets valued at $31,515.

Nester, of Local Road, McBean Vil­lage, Couva, was represented by defence attorneys Sean Cazabon and Adana Bain.

In his bail application, Cazabon said Nester lived at the Couva address with his ailing mother and five siblings for the past five years and had been employed as a marketing manager for the past four years.

He said Nester had concerns for his safety if he was remanded into pri­son custody, given he had made the allegations against the minister.

The attorney submitted that since making the allegations, Nester began receiving threats from some members of the public, and his safety would be further compromised if he is placed among other prisoners.

Cazabon also stated despite his client having other matters before the court of a similar nature, bail should not be denied, given the char­ges were bailable ones and he should be presumed innocent until the determination of those matters.

In response, police prosecutor Sgt Callister Charles said several issues were of concern to the prosecution if bail were to be granted.

The prosecutor said the police had information that Nester did not reside at the Couva address and fraud squad detectives are currently investigating two other reports in which he is alleged to have been involved.

He further pointed out Nester allegedly committed the offences while on bail for the other matters and as such, there is a likelihood he will com­mit further offences if granted bail.

Cazabon responded, saying his client had been in custody since his arrest on Monday and questioned why the police was not able to seek clarity on his address during his time at the Fraud Squad office. 

He also asked that the $2,067 Nes­ter had in his possession at the time of his arrest be returned to him, but the prosecutor said the money formed part of the exhibit in the matters.

The magistrate said she was in agreement with the submissions made by the prosecutor before remanding Nester into custody.

The matters were transferred to the various courts in the districts they allegedly occurred. She also poin­ted out a note of Nester’s safety concerns was made on the remand warrant to make prison officers aware of them.

Nester will appear in the Tunapuna Magistrates’ Court on Monday. 

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thurs­day, he will appear in the Ari­ma, Chaguanas and Couva Magistrates’ Courts respectively.