An amateur radio operator from west Trinidad has been fined $50,000 for operating without a licence from the Telecommunications Authority of T&T (TATT).
Desi-Lee Bonterre, 43, of Point Cumana, Carenage, received the sentence after the case was heard by Appellate Judges Alice Yorke-Soo Hon and Mark Mohammed at the Hall of Justice in Port-of-Spain on Thursday.
If Bonterre does not pay the fine within 90 days he will face five years in prison.
The sentencing came almost two months after the judges reversed a decision of a magistrate to acquit Bonterre based on the failure of TATT to prove that equipment seized at his property was capable of transmitting radio communications.
Their decision was a landmark ruling for TATT as the case was the first of its kind to be prosecuted by it.
Bonterre's lawyer, Shastri Roberts, had suggested that his client should be reprimanded and discharged as the evidence did not suggest that he had used the equipment for financial gain and based on the fact that he was eventually granted a licence by TATT in 2014.
However, the judges stated a fine was necessary to have a deterrent effect on potential offenders as suggested by TATT's special prosecutor Sean Cazabon.
Bonterre, an employee of international courier FedEx, was charged by TATT in 2007 after its investigators raided his property based on complaints from police over interference of their signals in the area.
While there was no evidence that Bonterre was responsible for the interference, he was found to be in possession of radio equipment without possessing a requisite licence.
Bonterre is the vice president of a local team of REACT—an international organisation for amateur radio operators, who provide services in emergency and disaster situations. He claimed that the equipment that was found at his home was used for REACT.