A 32-year-old Trincity man was yesterday fined $800 for staging his bogus kidnapping aimed at scheming his father out of $500,000.
His lawyer claimed that his client, Ricardo Daniel, "was possibly taken over by a shaitan (evil spirit)" as he pleaded for leniency.
Daniel and Dennis Stapleton, 32, yesterday re-appeared before Magistrate Cheron Raphael in the Port of Spain Third Magistrate's Court charged with wasting police time. They had first appeared in court last Friday and the presiding magistrate, Melvin Daniel, transferred to the matter before Raphael.
The charges stemmed from a police investigation into the July 24 kidnapping of Daniel and a $500,000 ransom demand of businessman James Daniel for the safe return of his son.
James Daniel is the owner of Professional's auto-body garage, located at Pashley Street, Laventille.
On July 26, Daniel claimed he was released by his abductors.
On July 28, Daniel gave PC Darnell Melville of the Anti-Kidnapping Unit a statement about the kidnapping.
On July 31, Daniel told Melville "officer the statement I gave you before, I was not telling the truth".
Daniel said he was sorry and gave Melville a signed confession which was authenticated by Justice of the Peace Akbar Khan.
Melville charged Daniel with causing the wasteful employment of police time.
Attorney Fitzgerald Hinds who yesterday represented Daniel said his client was "absolutely contrite".
Hinds described Daniel's kidnap scheme as a "sordid social and spiritual problem dressed in legal clothing" and said the ordeal has caused his family "no end of embarrassment and stress".
"I have no logical explanation, something has got to be wrong, horribly wrong, he (Daniel) was possibly taken over by a shaitan (evil spirit)," Hinds said when questioned by Raphael about why his client had gone to such extents to try to scheme his father out of money.
James Daniel was seated in the court while his son sat in the prisoners' docks.
Hinds said he was hired by James Daniel to represent his son.
Raphael, Hinds and James Daniel all commended Melville and the other investigating officers for their quick response to the kidnapping.
The maximum sentence for wasting police time is $1,000 or six months in prison, Raphael said.
Daniel was fined $800 with a deadline of one week to pay.
Daniel will serve three months hard labour if he fails to pay the fine in the stipulated time frame, Raphael said.
After Daniel was sentenced, Stapleton appeared before Raphael.
Stapleton, of Snake Valley, Laventille was represented by attorney Richard Clarke-Wills.
Stapleton has maintained his not guilty plea for wasting police time arising out of Daniel's kidnapping.
His matter has been adjourned to October 4.