Source Today Newspaper
GREAT BAY – The Court in first Instance sentenced Jean Carlos Cabrera yesterday to 5 years of imprisonment, after a demand of 9 years by the public prosecutor. The court found Cabrera guilty of two attempted armed robberies, one completed armed robbery and firearm possession.
On April 6, Cabrera committed a robbery in Pelican Key and barely a month later, he struck twice on the same day with attempted robberies at the Sports Center store on Back Street and the Thai Savannah restaurant in Simpson Bay. The robbery on Back Street failed because a security guard managed to take the Cabrera’s firearm, but not before he sustained a hit on the back of his head with the weapon. The robber fled on a scooter. With someone who was waiting for him.
Police later spotted the suspects in Cole Bay and chased them in vain. The men left their scooter behind and fled.
According to the court, an uncle later told Cabrera to turn himself in after his name had circulated on social media as the perpetrator.
Cabrera told the court that he had been threatened by the brother of a man named Flaco who had lent him $4,000 that he was unable to pay back. He said that the brother first came to threatened him and to demand his money and later to threaten him if he did not take part in the robberies.
Judge Dirk Gruijters did not buy the story, also because the defendant had told the police that he had acted on impulse and that committing a robbery sounded like a cool idea.
Prosecutor Nanouk Lemmers told the court that there is sufficient evidence for all charges against the defendant. “I consider his statement to the police much more credible than the story he is telling here today. He gave up his right to an attorney at the police station because he wanted to clean up his act.”
The prosecutor did not attribute too much weight to the attempted robberies, but she held it against the defendant that he had pointed a firearm at his victims. “The fact that they had to look into the barrel of that weapon is very serious,” she said.
The prosecutor demanded 9 years of imprisonment, a demand that surprised Judge Gruijters who asked for a more detailed explanation. Lemmers said that, based on all the charges, she could have arrived at an ever higher demand.
Attorney Sjamira Roseburg was taken aback by the demand, saying that in another case where a group was found guilty of six robberies; the demand was just 5 years and the sentence 4 years.
“This demand is incoherent,” Roseburg said. She further noted that the right to consultation (to have an attorney present before the first interrogation by the police) had been violated and that statements made during these interrogations ought to be excluded from evidence.
“My client did not see another way out because he was put under pressure by Flaco’s brother,” the attorney explained her client’s actions. “But only my client is on trial. Flaco and his brother have not been found yet.”
Judge Gruijters did not believe that Cabrera had acted under pressure of others, but he considered the clean record of the 22-year old defendant as a positive point. For that reason he did not follow the prosecutor’s demand and sentenced the young man instead to five years of imprisonment.