Courts find early trial date for teen robbery suspect

| 25/03/2014

(CNS): A 16-year-old boy who has admitted playing a part in the robbery of a North Side supermarket last year but who has denied being armed will face trial next month after the courts were able to secure an early date for the teenager, who is currently remanded in custody. The boy, who cannot be named because of his age, is one of four people charged with the high profile case, which attracted considerable attention when the robbers were caught on film by the police helicopter as they were trying to make their escape following the daylight heist. Although all of the suspects have made various admissions, so far just one has been convicted and sentenced.

The teen, who is the youngest of the group, pleaded guilty earlier this year to the robbery and has admitted that he was one of the two masked men who entered Chisholm's store. However, he has denied having a gun. Despite his insistence that he was not armed when he went into the store with 21-year-old Courtney Bryan, who was armed with an imitation hand gun, the crown is pressing ahead with the charge of possession of an imitation firearm.

As a result, the teen will stand trial on that count. However, with the courts backed up for many months, the teenager was originally told he could expect to wait until October this year before his case would be heard but the age of the youngster saw court staff work hard to find an earlier date.

Local defence attorney Irwin Banks, who is representing the youngster, told the court Friday that they had managed to find a window of opportunity to hear his case next month.

Meanwhile, Bryan, who admitted participating in the robbery and having an imitation weapon, was sentenced in January to four years in jail by Justice Charles Quin following his guilty plea. Bryan (21) admitted entering the store where he robbed the 83-year-old owner and her granddaughter of jewellery, a phone, cigarettes and around $300 in cash. However, two other men accused of playing a part in the crime have pleaded guilty to much lesser offences.

Odain Lloyd Ebanks (18) has admitted handling stolen goods and Ian Fernando Ellington (29) to being an accessory after the fact. Ebanks claimed he was in the car with Ellington when he picked up Bryan and the teenager but he knew nothing he said of the crime. He said it was only when the robbers were passing around the stolen cigarettes that he realized what was happening and admitted touching a packet of cigarettes, which he threw out of the speeding car that was being chased by both a police vehicle and the RCIPS helicopter. Ellington also states that he had not played a part in planning the crime other than to picking up the two robbers and giving them a ride.

Ellington is expected to be sentenced on Thursday by Justice Charles Quin, but following that judge’s rejection of a basis of plea accepted by the crown that dropped the charges from robbery to handling stolen goods, Ebanks case will now be heard by Justice Alex Henderson next week.

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