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Media barred at Vicky’s hearing
The media was barred from the second court appearance of alleged fraudster Vicky Boodram and the two police officers, accused of facilitating her short-lived escape from prison.
Reporters from several media companies were present in the Arima Magistrate’s Court yesterday as the trio were due to reappear for the first time since being charged last week.
Shortly after 10 am, Senior Magistrate Gillian David-Scotland cleared the courtroom of members of the public as she sought to adjourn an unrelated the case of a minor accused of a crime.
Such a process is also used for hearings of sexual offences cases to protect the identity of the victim.
The T&T Guardian understands that while the courtroom was clear after the adjournment, police officers brought Boodram, PC LeVon Sylvester and WPC Lisa Navarro through the prisoners’ entrance for their hearing.
When reporters found out and re-entered the court, all three accused were seen in the prisoner enclosure.
Two police officers, who were present to testify in unrelated cases, informed reporters that they had to leave immediately as David-Scotland had cleared the court for the hearing.
Even as reporters questioned the officers, they were ushered from the court with one reporter being violently pushed from behind by one officer.
David-Scotland, who was presiding over the case while the drama unfolded, did not intervene.
Legal sources who were in the court during the hearing said prosecutors disclosed a written statement to defence attorneys and the case was adjourned to January 10.
Boodram escaped from the Women’s Prison in Arouca on November 27 but was arrested at a house at Latchoos Road, Penal, three days later.
Sylvester and Navarro were jointly charged with Boodram for aiding in her escape by presenting fraudulent court documents to prisons officers.
They were also charged with misbehaviour in public office.
The police officers were each granted $300,000 bail and have been suspended from duty. Boodram has already been denied bail over the 175 fraud charges related to her stint as a travel agent, when she escaped.
Lotto booth operator Roxanne Cudjoe, in whose house Boodram was found, was charged with harbouring a prisoner. Her court case is to be tried separately.
Boodram is being represented by Richard Isaac, while Navarro is being represented by Mario Merritt and Karuna Bisramsingh.