frisked: Soca artiste Rodney "Benjai" Le Blanc is charged with assaulting PC Valentine Eastman in 2010. —Photo:TREVOR WATSON

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'Benjai' case adjourned

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

THE TRIAL of soca artiste Rodney "Benjai" Le Blanc began on Tuesday with testimony that the entertainer spat in the direction of the police officer who was trying to detain him.

Corporal Anthony Wolfe took the witness stand in the San Fernando Fifth Court where Le Blanc is charged with assaulting constable Valentine Eastman in the execution of his duty.

Wolfe testified that on December 18, 2010, he was working at the base of San Fernando Hill when around 1.30 a.m., he arrested Le Blanc.

Wolfe said he told Eastman to carry Le Blanc to the Mon Repos Police Station.

While the singer was being escorted from the stage area to a police vehicle in the parking lot, Wolfe said Le Blanc was behaving in an "agitated manner".

He told Magistrate Natalie Diop that there was a crowd of patrons following the police and they were also agitated and shouting for Le Blanc's release.

Wolfe said officers tried to place Le Blanc into the back seat of the police vehicle but he saw Le Blanc was "behaving in a manner which I perceived to be resistance to being placed in that vehicle".

He said the crowd increased the protest and "at that stage I saw Mr Le Blanc spit in the direction of PC Eastman ... I then saw a struggle," Wolfe said.

Le Blanc was eventually taken to the police station where Wolfe said he told him of the offence and cautioned him.

"Mr Le Blanc made no reply to the caution but was continuously shouting that he is a man of high science and that he would treat with Mr Eastman," Wolfe said.

Yesterday, defence attorney Shalini Khan reserved cross-examination of Wolfe saying she wanted to question him and Eastman on the same day.

She asked for an adjournment date but pointed out that it is the Carnival season and her client, who is an entertainer, will be away from the area from January 22 to 27.

She also asked about the availability of the officers during this festive season.

Acting Sergeant Vinton Dinoo said the officers will be available. He had earlier told the court that Eastman was absent yesterday because he had to attend a work-related course.

Diop adjourned the case to January 29. "Please make every effort to be here on that date," the magistrate told Le Blanc.

At his first court appearance Le Blanc pleaded guilty to the charge of using obscene language during a performance at San Fernando Hill on December 18, 2010. He was reprimanded and discharged.

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