PHILIPSBURG–Five suspects ranging in age from seventeen to twenty years will stand trial September 6 on a number of armed-robbery charges, it was decided during a pro-forma hearing in the Court of First Instance on Thursday.
The hearing was postponed on the defence’s request for additional investigations and the hearing of a witness.
Main suspect B.B. (19) and his co-defendants will be charged with involvement in an armed robbery at a home on Agave Road in Pelican on December 7, 2016.
The victim was tied up during the robbery, beaten until he bled and threatened with a firearm and a machete. Several items were stolen, including bank and credit cards.
The suspects will also be charged with deprivation of the victim’s liberty, with being an accomplice to the theft of money from the victim’s bank account with use of the stolen cards, and with possession of illegal (fire) arms.
The Prosecutor announced that the victim had filed for material damages to the amount of US $21,623.55 and for $3,000 in immaterial damages. The Prosecutor’s Office will also file a $2,334 dispossession claim against all suspects, except for J.S.V. (19), it was announced.
Defendants D.R.W. (20), A.D.H. (18), A.A.G. (17) and J.S.V. are also suspected of having committed a number of other armed robberies with violence at, for instance, supermarkets and restaurants.
B. is also held as an accomplice in an attempted robbery at Boardwalk Boulevard on March 4. He will be charged with theft, violence and extortion for this alleged crime, during which he reportedly used a knuckleduster.
B. will also be charged with possession of several firearms between December 7, 2016, and January 22, 2017.
The charges against the other three suspects are largely the same. D.R.W. and A.D.H. are both suspected of involvement in the Pelican robbery and deprivation of liberty. They are also suspects in the armed robberies of Yan Yang supermarket in Sucker Garden on January 23 and of Wah Yung supermarket in Cole Bay one day later.
D.R.W. and J.S.V. were both arrested January 27 during an armed robbery at Fai Wang Chinese restaurant in Cole Bay, during which three suspects were caught red-handed after a shootout with the police.
Suspect J.S.V. is considered an accomplice in the supermarket and restaurant robberies. The Prosecutor’s Office is holding him as the driver of the getaway car, not as one of the robbers. He will also be charged with illegal firearm possession.
An earlier pro-forma hearing in this case on May 10 was also postponed because the suspect’s lawyers were not present, as they were on strike for payment of their pro-bono fees by Government. On Thursday, lawyers Safira Ibrahim and Sjamira Roseburg requested access to video-surveillance camera images of the various crime scenes.
Ibrahim also requested images taken of the violent arrest of her clients A.D.H. and D.R.W. She said police had shot at A.D.H. four times while he was sitting in a car. He was hit four times, including in his mouth, shoulder and knee, the lawyer said. “D.R.W. was also hit, and he was kicked and beaten up,” his lawyer said.
An Investigating Judge found the arrest legitimate. The Judge ordered the Prosecutor to verify with the National Detectives, who are investigating the gun violence, whether they have camera images of the incident.
The Court also agreed to the hearing of B.’s mother as a witness. She identified him as one of the culprits on camera images. The Court also allowed the defence to hear a wiretapped conversation with, allegedly, B.’s voice on it.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/67098-five-armed-robbers-on-trial-september-6