With recent calls for the security at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court to be tightened, media operatives assigned to the court were physically and verbally assaulted yesterday by relatives of a defendant who was being remanded to prison.
The offended media personnel were Lisa Lowe from Channel 65, Adele Rampersaud of the National Communications Network, Natalene De Freitas of Chronicle, and Kaieteur News’ Latoya Giles.
The assault stemmed from the media operatives trying to acquire footage of the accused as she was leaving the court room.
The woman had been charged for carnal knowledge along with a male, and the two were remanded to prison by Acting Chief Magistrate Melissa Robertson.
As the reporters were standing on the platform waiting for the defendant to come out of the court, her relatives started verbally abusing the journalists.
Two of the journalists who were present had explained to the relatives that they were not filming them (the relatives) but only wanted the woman that was charged.
It was at that point the individual who was charged yesterday for assaulting the journalists, June-Ann St. Jules, started cursing the journalists.
The woman said that the journalists, “like tek out people f**king picture, dey gon find dey f**king body behind de market”.
She continued to push the reporters and hit the cameras as the journalists were coming down the steps.
After the woman who was charged for the carnal knowledge was placed into the court lockups, St. Jules continued to be verbally abusive to the journalists.
The woman relentlessly hurled remarks and after realizing that she was being ignored, intensified her actions. The woman and a male relative then started to curse the journalists. After this occurred, one of the reporters went to the court inspector and lodged a complaint. The male offender was subsequently taken into custody. The woman was warned by another police to desist from abusing the journalists. The police officer failed in this regard as the woman continued to say that she “just pay somebody $10,000 in the court and doan mind paying another for dem”.
The journalist who lodged the complaint then went back to the inspector and made another report about the woman. The inspector asked another rank to bring the woman into the lockups.
After the journalist emerged from the court lockups with the officer, the woman was seen leaving the court yard heading towards Croal Street.
The police rank called out to her and she began running.
She was eventually apprehended by the said policeman in King Street opposite the High Court.
The journalists were asked by the court inspector to make a report at the Brickdam Police Station.
The duo accused of assaulting the journalists were each placed on $3,000 station bail. The reporters were told to return to the Brickdam station this morning.
In an invited comment, Press Association President Dennis Chabrol stressed that media operatives should feel safe while in the line of duty. He stated that there should be a comprehensive review of the incident, while insisting that persons should be urged by law enforcement not to interfere with the reporters when they are doing their jobs.
He also emphasized that stricter penalties need to be put in place for persons who behave in a disorderly manner at the court.
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