Troubled teen robber jailed for 2.5 years

| 23/05/2014

(CNS): A teenage boy who was only sixteen years old when he was involved in an armed robbery at a North Side supermarket has been given a two and a half year sentence for his part in the crime by a Grand Court judge. The teenager, who cannot be named because of his age, pleaded guilty to robbery shortly after his arrest and co-operated fully with the police. However, despite being failed by the system, given the severity of the crime the judge would not agree to his attorney’s pleas for a youth probation order. The youngster was a key player in the daylight heist in which four men were originally apprehended following a high profile chase by the police helicopter.

The teen is now the last of the gang involved in the robbery, which took place at the Chisholm’s store in North Side in October last year, to be sentenced. The incident was a terrifying ordeal for the 83 year old owner and her grand-daughter, who were manning the shop when two masked armed men burst in and demanded money. The women were both recently honoured with a community police award as it was their quick thinking which allowed the police to ultimately apprehend the gang.

In what is a now well documented case, the teen entered the store along with Courtney Bryan, who was armed with an imitation hand gun and who is serving four years for his part in the crime, and threatened the two women. They stole jewellery, cigarettes, acell phone and around $300 in cash before making their escape in a get-away car driven by Fernado Ellington, who is serving a two year sentence for his part in the crime. A fourth man, Odain Ebanks, who was also in the car pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods and evaded jail after the crown were unable to prove earlier allegations that he was part of the robbery. 

All four men were arrested after the car was tracked by the police helicopter and police patrol vehicles on the ground as the shop owner had taken down the car’s license plate.

The court heard that the teen, who admitted his guilt on arrest and cooperated with the police, said he was intimidated and cajoled by the older men into committing the crime.
It was also revealed that the young boy had been woefully failed by the system. Placed in Foster care because his father was abusing drugs, he was then sent to the controversial Alternative Education Centre when he was still young and introduced to ganja at age 13. The young boy was never returned to mainstream education and was sent to Bonaventure but was not provided with the therapeutic and mental health care that he needed. In his ruling justice Charles Quin noted the gaps in the system that have failed him and others.

Given the teen’s clear distrust of that system and the authorities that have failed him, his defence attorney had urged the court not to send his young client to spend more time locked up and now in an adult environment as he said he needed proper treatment.

However, the judge found that the seriousness of the offence, as the teen had played a significant part in what was a terrifying experience for the victims, meant a youth order was not commensurate with the crime. He also noted that the youngster had previous convictions for drugs and assault.

Starting with a four year term, he gave the boy a one third discount for his guilty plea and time served, since he was arrested in September, to be counted.

Justice Quin urged the young man to turn his life around before it was too late and while he acknowledged the difficulties in his life, he said children all over the world are faced with far more difficulties.

Now 17 years old, he was a man and had to take responsibility for his actions but he could still change, the judge said as he advised him to use the next two years in jail to stay away from trouble and drugs. He said he still had the chance to lead a productive life in the future if he turned away from crime, otherwise he would carry on going to Northward.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    throw them in jail!!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Let's get something clear; they all knew robbery was wrong and is a crime, otherwise they wouldn't have run away from the scene in a car.  And what's all this crap about the system failing him?  He had an opportunity like everyone else in society, but instead he choose not to learn and not to work.  He chose to take by force from someone else, something that they worked for, knowing full well that it was not the right thing to do, and he must now take the consequences that goes with it.  Thank you Judge Quin for your wisdom and not going soft on criminals.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree.  Too many apologists making excuses for criminals.  They chose to be criminals, we should choose to lock them up for a lot lot longer.  "Poor little thing, it was not his fault that he decidedto conduct an armed robbery, and he was such a sweet child . . "  Save it, buster and do some real time.

  3. help no hinder? says:

    Don't we all wish there was a 2 year online program this boy could work on for a future?  What about passing tests or certification to join a ship? (our heritage) computer skills? dental assistant? auto mechanic?

    Anything to give this boy an option other that learning from other thugs in prison.  We have the chance to make a difference here (save 1 boy and the rest will follow)  Can we please find a way?  All the chariity groups should be looking for ways to save a youth like this instead of black tie dinners?

    • Pollytrix says:

      Yes, convicted armed robbers are warmly welcomed on most merchant navy vessels.

    • Anonymous says:

      What do you mean wish? Of course there are online programs this boy could work on. But will he?

  4. Anonymous says:

    I wonder if he was spanked as a child or not.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Do we know for sure that deportation has not been an option along the way?