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Teen shows magistrate back burns

Robbery suspect claims being set alight while in police custody

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

THE TEENAGER who was allegedly burnt about his body while in custody at Princes Town Police Station yesterday showed a magistrate burns to his back as he appeared before the court on robbery charges.

Jamerson John, 18, who spent two weeks in hospital being treated for burns to his torso, leg and genital area, was allowed to sit through the proceedings after defence attorney Petronilla Basdeo said he was in pain.

Senior Magistrate Debra Quintyne read the two charges—that John broke and entered the home of L’shana Alleyne with intent to rob and did rob her and also that he robbed Akimo Garcia of personal items.

No recommendation was made by police prosecutor Sgt Krishna Bedassie as to whether the matters will be proceeding summarily or indictably.

Basdeo told Quintyne of the allegation John had made against the police officers and asked whether, as a matter of disclosure, the prosecution was willing to indicate what had happened to John while he was at the police station.

Bedassie told the court that the teen had cut his foot prior to being held by the police. The officer said John had been applying methylated spirit to the wound at home and some fell on his clothing. Bedassie said when John was arrested and taken to the police station, the flame from scented candles touched his clothes and caught afire.

Basdeo asked that John be allowed to show the court the injury to his back and the courtroom was cleared for this to be done.

John was discharged from the hospital around 4 p.m. on Sunday.

He had been under police guard at the burns unit of the hospital since Christmas Day, after being arrested the previous day and taken to the police station.

On Sunday, defence attorney Shawn Teekasingh requested that the teenager be taken to San Fernando Police Station instead of Princes Town.

He was brought from the San Fernando station for yesterday’s court case.

Quintyne placed John on $5,000 own bail and ordered that he return to court on May 5.

Two teens are also before the court facing the same charges as John. They have both been placed on bail.

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