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Derek Achong

A heated argument with his girlfriend before the start of the nightly curfew last Friday has cost a 23-year-old mechanic of Chaguanas $7,000. Stephen Phagoo was slapped with the fine after he pleaded guilty to breaching the curfew during a virtual court appearance before Magistrate Duane Murray yesterday. Phagoo was arrested by police while walking along Caparo Valley Brasso Road around 10.10 pm last Friday. Phagoo told police that he had just left the Chaguanas Health Facility after dropping off a female friend, who went for medical treatment. The officers took Phagoo to the facility and charged him after staff there denied that he was present earlier. When Phagoo appeared before Magistrate Murray yesterday, his attorney Bhimal Maharajh said his client was remorseful for initially lying to police. He claimed that around 8.30 pm, Phagoo had an argument with his girlfriend over his alleged commitment to their relationship and she asked him to leave. Maharajh claimed that Phagoo could not get a taxi and was walking home when he was held by police. Maharajh pleaded for leniency for Phagoo, who he claimed already suffered embarrassment from relatives and friends over his arrest and the reason for it. He also cited Phagoo’s clean criminal record and early guilty plea. After issuing the fine, Magistrate Murray advised Phagoo that he should consider reassessing his relationship with his girlfriend as she chose to evict him shortly before the curfew knowing that he would be unable to make it to his parents’ home in time. Phagoo was given six months in which to pay the fine. If he fails to do so within the time limit he would face six months in prison.