“Take the shackles off of him, please.”
That was the order given by Oistins Magistrate Elwood Watts to prison officers with regards to Ricardo Ameka Callender, the father of a boy seen in a video making the rounds on social media, being attacked by a number of schoolboys.
The Unity Lane, Gall Hill, Christ Church resident had spent the past three days at HMP Dodds after he was remanded for 14 days by a Bridgetown magistrate on his first appearance in court last Saturday.
Callender is charged with entering Christ Church Foundation School premises on November 16 and assaulting Deputy Principal Peter Roger Cox. He faces a similar charge of assaulting Deighton Griffith Secondary School teacher Anthony Alleyne at that school, and is also charged with failing to leave the schools’ compounds when directed to do so by Cox
and Alleyne. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.
When the 43-year-old father – accompanied by attorney Andrew Pilgrim, QC, in association with attorney Samuel Legay – appeared before Watts today, Acting Assistant Superintendent of Police Trevor Blackman again objected to bail on the grounds that it was a serious charged and he feared that Callender would reoffend.
Blackman submitted that the alleged assaults at the two secondary schools took place while classes were in session, which “traumatized” students.
He also raised concerns about the manner of the assaults, “one of which was pushing a teacher aside and the other was putting his hands in the face of the deputy principal . . . . in the presence of parents and teachers.
“The court must be abreast of what is happening in society. In the circumstances where [he] can go onto the premises of a school and assault . . . and then when told to leave, refuses. This is [of] serious concern in addition [to] statements that were [allegedly] made to those present in relation to the issue of causing harm,” the prosecutor said.
However, Pilgrim described the prosecutor’s objections as “unfortunate”, arguing that they sounded like sentencing remarks after an accused had been found guilty. The defence attorney submitted that his client was unknown to the court, had no pending charges, was not on bail, has two children to support and was gainfully employed.
He further argued that the court was being asked to keep Callender on remand even though the trial in such “ancillary matters” was not likely to start this year. Pilgrim also said his client was willing to adhere to any conditions imposed.
“Whatever your behaviour it has brought you here, but I see no reason to remand you given the nature of the charge,” Watts told Callender just before granting him $2,500 bail with one surety.
However, Callender has been prohibited from venturing on the schools’ premises immediately before, during or after school hours. He was also warned not to interfere with any of his alleged victims or harass them in any way.
Watts also got an undertaking from the prosecution that pretrial disclosure in the case, which continues on February 1, would be ready within the next three months.