Robber admits part in courier van stick-up three years on

| 10/11/2015 | 0 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman courts, Grand Cayman

(CNS): A 21-year-old man who was involved in an armed robbery of a courier van in a daylight heist outside BritCay insurance has admitted playing a part in the crime more than three years after the incident after he was finally considered fit to plead to the crimes. Tareek Crawford, who was just 18 at the time of the offence, has been under the scrutiny of the court system over the last three years but on Friday he pleaded guilty to the robbery in which four men held up a courier in the car park of the George Town offices on Eastern Avenue.

Crawford’s circumstances and his ability to understand the legal system have been in question but following psychiatric reviews, he was cleared to answer the charges. The young West Bay man, who has learning difficulties, was bailed until the New Year to allow the probation services to provide the courts with a social enquiry report, which will assist with sentencing him.

Crawford was one of four men who carried out the daylight heist. One of the robbers, armed with a semi-automatic pistol, held up the driver of the courier van, who had collected money from the insurance firm, stealing over CI$8,000 and almost US$600 on 4 October 2012. Crawford has not been charged with possession of a weapon.

The gang was quickly arrested after one of the robbers left a pile of incriminating evidence, including the gun, near the abandoned getaway car. Three men were all sentenced after they admitted both robbery and possession of an unlicensed firearm last year.

Brandon Liberal (29) and Manuel Carter (35) were sentenced to seven years in prison after they made eleventh hour pleas just as their jury trial was about to begin. John Phillip Cohen Ebanks (52), who entered his pleas much earlier and had been willing to give evidence against his fellow criminals, escaped the mandatory minimum sentence for possession of a gun by assisting prosecutors.

The court heard during their sentencing that Carter was the man who approached the courier with the weapon, while Ebanks was his getaway driver. Both Crawford and Liberal were in a second vehicle that was used as the switch car. The men had all pointed to their cocaine addiction as the reason they had turned to armed robbery and the need for cash to pay for their habit.

Despite their late plea to the offence, Carter and Liberal were given the full discount on the mandatory minimum sentence for a guilty plea on possession of an unlicensed firearm. Nevertheless, the two men have appealed that sentence and are expected to be appear before the current appeal court session next week.


Category: Courts, Crime

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