Bank robbery case stalls

| 20/11/2013

(CNS): The trial of three men and the sentencing of a fourth over their alleged part in a conspiracy to rob a branch of Scotia Bank in George Town last May has stalled as a result of a number of significant problems relating to the disclosure of documents to the defendants and other legal issues. Although the crown laid out its broad case against James McLean, Christopher Myles and Kevin Bowen on Wednesday, the case was quickly stalled due to some major issues that threaten the crown’s case against the men. The trial was adjourned until Friday, when lawyers will be making various legal arguments before Justice Alex Henderson, who is presiding over the case without a jury.

The three men are accused of conspiracy in connection with the daylight bank heist, in which masked robbers made off with an undisclosed sum, but they are not accused of robbery or possession of imitation firearms.

The hold-up happened at the bank located in Cardinal Avenue in downtown George Town on a busy cruise ship day. The masked men, two of whom were armed with what appeared to be guns, entered the bank at around 11:45am on 3 May 2012. The robbers threatened staff and customers before making off with an amount of cash that has never been disclosed.

Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryl Richards, QC, told the court that David Parchment, the fourth man who has pleaded guilty to accessory charges in relation to the case, is the crown’s key witness and his testimony forms the basis of the case against the other three men, but there is no other corroborating evidence.

Richards said the case hangs entirely on Parchment’s account. The co-conspirator alleges that the three other defendants offered him money to borrow his car for a job. Parchment claims that he agreed but he never knew what that job was until he saw the picture of his car in the local media outside the bank.

Parchment’s car was caught on film by a cruise ship tourist, who handed the picture to the local police. It also showed one of the masked robbers getting into the getaway car as the men fled the bank with the money, which does not appear to have been recovered.  Although the robbers appeared to have changed the licence plates during the commission of the crime, they overlooked the road fee sticker, which displayed the car's correct license plate, tracing it to Parchment.

Although he had at first told police his car had been stolen, during an interview a few months later he was said to have told the police that McLean, Myles and Bowen had paid him $1,600 after the robbery for the use of his car. Despite being promised $4,000, Parchment claimed he was given a lower cut as the men said they did not get as much as they had hoped but they reassured him that they had wiped the car clean.

Having pleaded guilty and expected to give evidence for the crown against the other three, Parchment’s sentencing hearing was postponed until Monday as the court heard that it is common practice to wait until a defendant who becomes a prosecuting witness completes his evidence before sentence is passed for his partin the offence.

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