Teen faces robbery charge for $4 mugging

| 28/09/2015 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands courts, George Town (Photo by Jaida Alexander)

(CNS): A West Bay teenager is facing a serious armed robbery charge in Grand Court this week in connection with a street mugging in which another teenager was robbed of $4 by a man armed with a machete. Prosecutors claim the West Bay boy, who is now 17 years old, was one of four young men who may have been involved in the robbery on the West Bay Road close to Cayman Way in May last year that saw the RCIPS chopper, the K-9 unit, two armed response units, uniformed police and officers from the marine base all dispatched to the scene.

The West Bay teenager has, however, denied being part of the crime, stating that, although he was aware of an incident of some kind, he was far away from what was going on and was not involved.

The court heard that the teenage victim was approached by the robbers as he waited on the road opposite Royal Palms at around 11pm on Friday 9 May 2014.

Giving evidence in court, he said four men had walked past him but two of them, one described as tall and skinny and another stout with a round face and facial hair, turned back and confronted him. He said the thinner man demanded $5 from him but he refused, and despite repeated demands, he would not give the robbers money.

But, he said, the skinny man turned to the stout man and asked him for a machete. At that point, following further demands for cash, when the man pressed the machete against his chest and tipped up the blade, the victim said he took out his wallet and handed the mugger four single dollar bills at which point the men ran off.

Just sixteen at the time, he told the court that it was “a shocking and unusual experience … even a frightening experience”, because he had never been exposed to anything like that before.

A woman who had witnessed part of the mugging went over to the teenager and after confirming he had been robbed she called 911. As a result of the report, the police dispatched a catalogue of specialist units, including the helicopter, two vans carrying armed officers, the K-9 unit, as well as regular police patrol vehicles.

The police tracked down four young men shortly afterwards, near to the scene of the mugging in Laurence Boulevard. When the police called out to them, they all ran off. Two of the youngsters were arrested after the police gave chase, but despite the efforts of the numerous units deployed, the police were unable to catch them all when two of the youngsters disappeared into the bush.

The teenager facing trial was one of the two youngsters apprehended and arrested that night. The crown said he was the young man who had handed the machete to the skinny robber who had demanded the cash. As a result, crown counsel Greg Walcolm told the court that the West Bay teenager was guilty of robbery as part of a joint enterprise.

But although he broadly fitted the physical description given of the man who had handed over the machete, the teenager was said to be wearing different clothes when he was arrested to those described by the victim. During his evidence, the victim also confirmed that he did not know either of his assailants and had not seen them before.

Despite this, however, the court heard that no identification parade or photo spread was conducted by police to confirm if the victim or the woman who had partially witnessed the incident could positively identify the West Bay teenager as one of the perpetrators or one the young men that had walked passed and were not involved in the shake-down.

The teenager told police when he was interviewed that he was not the man with the machete and although admitting that he was nearby at the time and that some altercation had taken place, he knew nothing about a robbery and he had not been carrying a machete.

The case, which is being presided over by Justice Charles Quin, sitting alone without a jury, was adjourned Monday afternoon following legal submissions by the teenager’s defence attorney, John Furnis, and is scheduled to continue in court one Tuesday.

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Category: Courts, Crime

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