UG students remanded on armed robbery charges

-after $9M Golyn and Sons hold-up

Three University of Guyana (UG) students were yesterday remanded to prison after being charged with stealing over $9 million worth of items during the armed hold up of a city store.

Darien Best, 19, of 429 Guyhoc Park, Georgetown; Joel DeMendonca, 20, of 17 Providence Park, East Bank Demerara, and Morris Gibson, 21, were not required to plead to the two armed robbery charges laid against them when they appeared in the city court of Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

It is alleged that while being armed with a gun, the three men robbed Mohanlall Narine of a quantity of cellphones, valued at $8.968 million, property of Golyn and Sons Fashion Store, on January 24, at Robb Street. The three were also charged with robbing Narine of two diamond rings, valued at $500,000, and a Samsung Galaxy cellphone, valued at $130,000, while armed with a gun.

Darien Best, 19, primary accused in the armed robbery
Darien Best, 19, primary accused in the armed robbery

According to Prosecutor Michael Grant, the robbery occurred shortly after 9 am last Friday. Gibson, Grant said, went into the store and enquired about the prices of cellphones and a fan.

During Gibson’s en-quiries, Best entered the store and reportedly pointed a gun at Narine, a sales clerk with the store. He then allegedly ordered Narine to pack up the cellphones into a haversack. During the robbery, Narine was also relieved of his two rings and personal cellphone.

Grant said Best, after retrieving the haversack with the stolen items, left the store and joined a waiting car on King Street.

The matter was reported at the Brickdam Police Station and officers, acting on information received, went to Peter’s Hall, East Bank Demerara, where they intercepted Best and Gibson.

According to the prosecutor’s case, at the time of their interception Best had a haversack on his back. The bag was checked and a number of cellphones were found inside. The two were arrested and questioned. They then took the police to DeMendonca’s Provi-dence home, where he was questioned and admitted that he was the driver of the getaway car, Grant said. His home was also searched and four cellphones were recovered. The phones were identified by Mohanlall as some of those stolen.

Grant objected to bail for the three men, citing the gravity and the prevalence of the offence as his reasons. He also mentioned that a gun had been used in the commission of the crime. In Gibson’s de-fence, his attorney, Lyndon Amsterdam, accused the prosecution of deliberately leaving out the fact that his client had bought a fan at the store before the robbery and emphasised that the prosecution had a duty of disclosing all information, even if it is in favour of the defence. He added that nothing in the prosecutor’s details indicated that Gibson stole the phones, pointed a gun, left with Best or did anything else that could have implicated him as a co-conspirator in the crime.

During the proceedings, it was revealed that two former schoolmates of Gibson, employed at the store, had identified him. However, Amsterdam rebutted that though his client was admittedly in the store at the time of the robbery, it did not mean he partook in any crime.

Amsterdam also stated that his client, a former technician with Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T), has a fixed placed of abode at 1221 Westminster, Parfait Harmonie. However, according to the case jacket received by the court, Gibson resides at 334 East Street, South Cummingsburg.

Gibson was nevertheless remanded to prison along with Best and DeMendonca. They are set to return on February 13 for report.

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