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Romaul Benn, of Green Hill, in police custody outside the Serious Offences Court on July 3, 2023.
Romaul Benn, of Green Hill, in police custody outside the Serious Offences Court on July 3, 2023.
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Two court reporters have been assaulted outside the Serious Offences Court in Kingstown, the second such incident this year.

The reporters, one male and one female, have identified their assailant as Romaul Benn, 45, of Green Hill, who appeared before the court on July 3 on a drug charge.

Shortly before the assault, Benn was talking loudly with his co-accused, Martin Alonso Velez Velasquez, 39, of Colombia, while seated in the prisoners’ area in one corner of the small courtroom.  

Chief Magistrate Rechanne Browne, who was presiding over another matter, asked Benn to be quiet.

“Way you nah tell him to be quiet too? Is me alone was talking?” Benn blurted out.

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Benn continued with his loud chatter and the magistrate ordered court orderlies to escort him to the holding cell, located on the ground floor of the two-storey building.

Benn’s outburst could be heard from inside the courtroom as he was being escorted to the cell. 

Later, as officers were escorting Velasquez out of the courtroom to be transported to prison, Benn appeared to see the two reporters position themselves to take photographs.

As the officers removed Benn from the holding cell, Benn who was in handcuffs, pelted a black plastic bag containing clothing and shoes at the reporters.

Neither of the reporters were struck, having dodged the missile, which struck a parked vehicle with a loud thud.

The commotion caught the attention of court workers on the first floor of the building and they opened windows and enquired as to what was taking place.

After Benn pelted the bag, officers cautioned him but he continued arguing with them.

The journalists reported the incident to the Central Police Station.

The two men were before the court on a charge that on July 1, at Green Hill, they had in their possession 31,099 grammes of Cannabis with intent to supply it to another.

On Jan. 30, several media workers wrote to Police Commissioner, Colin John, expressing concern at what they regard as the “escalating issue of threats by members of the public against and aggression” towards journalists covering the Serious Offences Court and Kingstown Magistrate’s Court.

In the letter, copied to the Prime Minister and Minister of National Security, Ralph Gonsalves, the chief magistrate, senior magistrate as well as the Superintendent of Prisons, the journalists said “this has been an ongoing situation about which journalists have complained repeatedly over the years to police officers assigned to the court”

The police chief and other senior police officers later met with members of the media and the prime minister wrote to the journalists, expressing his dissatisfaction with the aggression meted out to them then.

Police have said that they are investigating that first incident, but no charge has been brought.

One reply on “Reporters assaulted outside court — again”

  1. Take warning says:

    Always hearing talks about investigating but never , never hear anything about their investigations. A promise is a comfort to a fool.

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