Three men accused of holding four Venezuelan women captive and sexually assaulting two of them have been denied bail after appearing in court.
Virgil Pompey, of Wilson Road, Diego Martin, Matthew John, a car wash attendant from Upper Bournes Road, St James and Yohan Norgiff, of Union Road, Diego Martin, were remanded into custody after appearing before Magistrate Rehanna Hosein in the Port-of-Spain Magistrates’ Court yesterday morning.
The trio was charged with falsely imprisoning the four women and with raping two of them between last Thursday and Friday.
Police prosecutor Insp Callister Charles asked Hosein to deny the men bail and adjourn the case as investigators were still in the process of obtaining their criminal record tracing. Charles said it was impractical for police officers to obtain the tracing earlier, as the requests were only submitted after they were charged late Wednesday evening.
Attorney Keith Scotland, who is representing Pompey and Norgiff, questioned the delay by police.
“It is not important to them because they are not the ones who are incarcerated,” Scotland said, as he described the delay as a “gross dereliction of duty.”
Scotland also took issue with the media reports over his clients’ arrests. He claimed that while reports claimed that they impersonated police officers to abduct the women, they were never charged with such.
He also questioned claims that the house at Union Road in Diego Martin, where Pompey and John were held and the women were rescued, was painted to resemble a police station. Norgiff surrendered to police a day after the raid on his home.
Scotland claimed that the property’s blue and white motif and numerous Stars of David, synonymous with the T&T Police Service (TTPS), were chosen by Norgiff’s deceased grandmother who owned the property.
Presenting submissions on behalf of John, his attorney Alexia Romero complained that her client was not interviewed by police before being charged.
“My client attended that house with those persons to assist in looking for somewhere to rent,” Romero said.
After the listening to the submissions, Hosein refused bail for the men and adjourned their case to next Tuesday.
According to reports, police began investigating the case after the women’s friends reported them missing when they failed to return after leaving to view apartments for rent in west Trinidad. The women have since been placed in protective custody.
The trio is also being represented by Asha Watkins-Montserin, Adaphia Trancoso and Dana-Marie Salina.