The judgement in the trumped-up police case against Lalit member, Lindsey Collen was today Friday 6 May 2005 postponed for Monday, 9 May. The Magistrate, Mr. Pentiah, who has heard the case was not present in the District Court No. 3 of Port Louis. Magistrate Seebaluck announced the postponement. As usual, there were a large group of Lalit members present in solidarity with Lindsey.
Ram Seegobin was last year found "not guilty" in a similar case around the same incident.
Here are the facts: Three policemen had been detailed to spy on a planning meeting of the Common Front called "NO TO BUSH", of which Lalit was one of about 30 organizations, preparing a street demonstration against George W. Bush due to visit Mauritius in the context of the January, 2003 AGOA Forum. (To give the context, this was the planning meeting for the demonstration for which the Common Front later had to go to the Supreme Court to quash the Police Commissioner's banning order. The Police Commissioner letter to ban the meeting included a line saying a copy of the letter had been sent to the United States Ambassador in Port Louis.)
As the preparatory meeting was being held on private property, the police had no right to be there, and Ram Seegobin had requested them to leave the premises. The police inspector asked what we had against policemen, and someone else present in a group standing around the police officers said he didn't like the police because they killed people in detention. The Police Inspector present, Inspector Pedre, replied "People like you deserve to be killed". Ram Seegobin asked him for his name and number, and he refused to give them.
Lindsey Collen had meanwhile found out that a police stooge had made a charade of informing the police for a phantom public meeting he was holding at the same time at the same Social Centre (and to which obviously not a single person came). Knowing the police had this vague "cover", she walked over to the group talking to the police officers and said, "Let's start the meeting." Ram then told her that the Inspector refused to give his name and number, and Lindsey said "Which one, the one with the moustache?" Both Lindsey and Ram made comments to the effect that they were acting like policemen for Bush.
Now, what happened afterwards was that, because, after the preparatory meeting there was to be a press conference to announce details of the planned demonstration, a journalist had arrived early. This is how an article appeared in the press quoting the Police Inspector, and naming him, saying "People like you deserve to be killed" to Ram Seegobin, which, if taken as "you plural" was accurate reporting.
The police obviously felt under attack.
So they then decided to prepare a counter-offensive, and slapped trumped-up charges on Ram Seegobin (for calling them dogs, and telling them to "get their arses out of here") and Lindsey Collen (for calling them "mutuk" which means "maggots", but which was later found to have been a misreading of their original diary entry for "mustas" which means "moustache".) For added nuisance value, charges were laid in two separate cases. The cases have been one long chronicle of miscarriages of justice. Lalit web readers will remember how Lindsey Collen did not know there were charges against her, and she was in the Court, together with about twenty other people, in support of Ram, when she heard her name called, and had to step into the accused box.
At the last hearing, Lindsey Collen gave evidence under oath.
Jean Claude Bibi is advocate in both cases.