TRINIDAD: Man fined $12,000 for groping woman’s genitals during Carnival

(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – Men can be arrested for ‘thiefing a wine’ during Carnival but Govind Seepersad has to pay a woman $12,000 in compensation for groping a woman’s genitals during the festival a decade ago.

Seepersad, 25, was expected to be sentenced yesterday in the San Fernando Second Assize, but he asked for more time to make up the money.

Seepersad, a welder/fabricator, who was then 17, pleaded guilty to the charge of indecent assault.

The incident took place on Carnival Tuesday on February 24, 2009, around 8.20 pm in Penal.

The woman, dressed in a pair of long jeans and black halter top, was walking along the SS Erin Road with her boyfriend during the Carnival festivities. The couple was standing near a supermarket when Seepersad passed on her right side, pushed his hand between the woman’s legs and grabbed her crotch.

The woman’s boyfriend chased after Seepersad and took him to the nearest police officer, PC Vinton Dinoo, who was on foot patrol duty.

Confronted by the woman, Seepersad said, “I never do that.”

The officer took Seepersad to Penal Police Station and recorded statements from the woman and her boyfriend. The officer took Seepersad to his Penal home where they met his father, who accompanied them back to the station.

In 2016, Justice Althea Alexis-Windsor did a maximum sentence indication where she suggested a three-year bond to keep the peace and be of good behaviour and the $12,000 compensation as the maximum sentence.

The matter, however, did not get off the ground until last December when Seepersad pleaded guilty before Justice Hayden St Clair Douglas.

His attorney Cedric Neptune said his client was apologetic. He said Seepersad was young and may have had beverages which he ought not to have consumed at his age.

Seepersad, he said, would have just completed school and has no previous convictions or pending matters.

The matter was adjourned to February 28 for sentencing.

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