PORT OF SPAIN –– A 42-year-old Arouca man, who made a hoax call to police warning of an attack on Trincity Mall by international terrorist group ISIS last month, has been sentenced to 21 days in prison with hard labour.
Glen Dalrymple, a driver with the Water and Sewerage Authority (WASA), was slapped with the sentence Tuesday after pleading guilty to “misusing a phone by sending a message, knowing it to be false, causing inconvenience and needless anxiety to persons” at the mall on May 26.
Dalrymple stood silently in the prisoner’s dock of the Arima Third Magistrates’ Court as the charge was being read by Magistrate Indar Jagroo.
When given an opportunity to address the court after entering his guilty plea, Dalrymple muttered a few words that were barely audible in the packed courtroom.
“When the incident happen I was very angry. . . to tell you the truth now I am disappointed,” Dalrymple said.
In presenting his mitigation plea, Dalrymple’s lawyer, Adrian Thompson, appealed for Jagroo to be lenient as he said his client did not waste the court’s time by pleading guilty to the offence on his first court appearance.
While Jagroo agreed that Dalrymple was entitled to a reduced sentence, he said he had to receive a jail term due to the serious effect his crime had on the country.
“It caused a stir in T&T and I cannot come to terms of how someone can think to do such a thing. It is really incomprehensible,” Jagroo said as he noted all countries around the world were again at a heightened state of awareness after recent terrorist attacks in Europe and the most recent attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida.
“He is fortunate that the offence only carries a simple sentence,” Jagroo said.
According to the charge, Dalrymple made a call to the Police Command Centre shortly before midday on May 26. He reportedly told police: “ISIS is going to do something at Trincity Mall at midday.”
The shopping centre was evacuated and was only reopened hours later after a search of the facility. It also forced the closure of Long Circular Mall as a precaution, although the disruption there was not as serious, since only a few business were open on the Corpus Christi holiday.
The call was traced by police and the owner of the phone it was placed through was arrested hours after. But he was released after he claimed he had lent his phone to a fellow patron at the La Luna Bar, Arouca, at the time the call was made.
Dalrymple was arrested in Sangre Grande last week after police interviewed patrons at the bar and reviewed footage from CCTV cameras at the establishment to obtain his identity.
But minutes after the sentenced was passed by Jagroo, Dalrymple’s relatives attempted to profess his innocence to reporters gathered outside the court.
“The police beat him to plead guilty. All he do was make a call to tell them what he hear in a maxi and look what happen to him. The police too wicked,” a female relative said as she was being led away by a group of others.
They also claimed that they would be filing a complaint with the Police Complaints Authority (PCA) once their relative is released after serving his sentence.
Sergeant Ishmael Pitt of the Northern Division Task Force (NDTF) led the investigation into the hoax call.