Man charged for child porn after cops scan his stolen laptop

A 35-year-old former Special Reserve Police (SRP), accused of child pornography possession, has been granted $200,000 bail.

Neil Ramdeen, of Batchiya Road, Penal, was remanded into custody after he made his first virtual appearance before Chaguanas Magistrate Adrian Darmanie on Wednesday, as a criminal record tracing report was not available in time for the hearing.

Guardian Media understands that when Ramdeen reappeared before Darmanie yesterday, the report was still not available due to ongoing issues with the T&T Police Service (TTPS) database, which has also delayed the issuing of certificates of good character to citizens.

Ramdeen’s lawyer Bhimal Maharajh said the delay was unacceptable, as his client was in custody since earlier this week and there were no assurances over when the record system would be functional. Maharajh also pointed out that a preliminary name search on Ramdeen revealed he had a clean criminal record, as he (Ramdeen) had initially claimed during his first hearing.

Darmanie eventually granted bail with attached conditions.

According to reports, Ramdeen was arrested after he went to collect a laptop and other electronics which were stolen from him earlier this year and recovered by police. Investigators used the opportunity to execute a digital search warrant and allegedly found videos and photographs of child pornography on an external flash drive.

Ramdeen was charged under Section 40 (1) of the Children’s Act, which makes it an offence to produce, distribute and possess child pornography. If convicted, a person faces a maximum penalty of a $30,000 fine and 10 years in prison. Ramdeen was not called upon to plead to the charge, which was laid indictably.

During his initial court appearance, Maharajh applied for bail, as he explained that his client served as an SRP between 2006 and 2014 and an estate constable at Petrotrin, before joining the T&T Electricity Commission (T&TEC) as a recruit constable in 2016. He claimed the man was active in his church over the past two decades and was a member of its band. He also said Ramdeen suffers from sleep apnea and requires a flow generator to sleep. Ramdeen has also been diagnosed with kidney stones.

Ramdeen is scheduled to reappear in court on April 15.

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