SOCA superstar Machel Montano will serve no prison time for charges of beating four persons and using obscene language. Montano was instead ordered to pay fines totaling $27,000 in court this afternoon. Fellow entertainer Kernal Roberts was also ordered to pay a fine and compensation for assaulting two persons.
The ruling was delivered by Magistrate Maureen Baboolal-Gafoor in the Port of Spain Magistrates’ Court.
The sentence had to be adjourned to this afternoon, because the magistrate became trapped in the traffic gridlock caused by the blockade of the highway by protesting Sea Lots residents this morning.
On December 10 last year Montano was found guilty by the magistrate of assaulting Brandis Browne, Russell Pollonais, Janelle Lee Chee and Gerard Bowrin and using obscene language outside the Zen nightclub on the morning of April 26, 2007.
Roberts was found guilty of assaulting Pollonais and Browne.
Joel “Zan” Feveck and Rodney “Benjai” LeBlanc had also been charged along with Montano and Roberts, but they were both guilty of the charges brought against them.
During the trial, which lasted more than five years, Montano had given ten days of evidence. During his testimony, Montano had denied the charges brought against him, stating instead that he was the one who was attacked by the group and spat at.
In passing sentence, Magistrate Gafoor-Baboolal said she had taken into account Montano’s good character, and that he had made a valuable contribution to the country.
However, the magistrate said that despite this, the two offences of assault occasioning actual bodily harm were very serious and the court had to send a message that such behaviour would not be tolerated.
She said that given the seriousness of the offences, she did not believe that community service should be imposed.
For the offence of common assault against Gerard Bowrin, Montano was fined $300 and ordered to pay $1,000 compensation. On the charge of common assault against Lee Chee, he was fined $300 and ordered to pay $1,500 in compensation. On the obscene language conviction, he was reprimanded and discharged. For beating Browne, Montano was fined $3,000 and ordered to pay $3,000 in compensation. For beating Pollonais, he was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $8,000 in compensation to his victim. Montano was told that should the fines and compensation not be paid by March 4, he could serve as much as two years in prison.
Roberts was also sentenced to pay a fine of $3,000, and pay compensation of $3,000 to Browne. For beating Pollonais, he was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay $8,000 in compensation or serve as much as two years in jail.
The State was represented by George Busby, while Dana Seetahal SC and Keith Scotland represented Montano and Roberts respectively.