Third accused in $6.9M Avon hold-up charged

Griffin Osafo Corbin yesterday became the third person charged with the $6.9M hold-up of two Avon employees.

He was released on bail in the sum of $500,000 by Magistrate Hazel Octave-Hamilton.

The allegation against Corbin is that on July 1, at Georgetown, being armed with a gun, he robbed Donald Joseph of $4.7 million and Gavin McKenzie of $2.2 million. The cash was property of Beauty and Home System Inc (Avon).

Griffin Osafo Corbin

The 24-year-old shop owner, of 67 Independence Boulevard, La Penitence, Georgetown, was not required to plead to the indictable charges when they were read to him at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court.

Two others, Sherwin Barrow and Adrian Joe, were also charged with the robbery.

Attorney Adrian Thompson, in a bail application, argued that his client was never identified as a perpetrator on any identification parade in the matters before the court. Thompson opined that the police had no evidence against his client and as such they should not have charged him in the first instance.

The lawyer emphasised that lawmen should ensure they have evidence against persons before they institute charges.

It was at this point that police Corporal Venetta Pindar, in her address to the court, stated that police investigations revealed that the accused is the boyfriend of an Avon employee and as a result was familiar with the agency’s operations.

When asked by the court however, the defendant’s girlfriend who was present at court said that she did not work at Avon and she was never employed there.

Magistrate Octave-Hamilton also informed the prosecutor that the court had been told before where the defendant’s girlfriend works, as Corbin had pending matters before her where the issue was raised.

Pindar, who said that the prosecution continued to rely on its facts and police investigations, objected to  bail, saying that the court needed to take into consideration the “nature and gravity of the offence.”

When summoned to the bench, however, Pindar was unable to produce to the court any piece of document to substantiate what she said police investigations had revealed.

The Magistrate then told Pindar that if she had nothing in the file then she “should not try to bluff her way” but instead let the court know that she has nothing.” She also explained to the investigating rank present that the police presenting the prosecution’s case needed to be properly equipped with the evidence they need when addressing the court.

This caused Thompson, who was also called to the bench, to re-emphasise that the police had no evidence against his client in the case.

In requesting reasonable bail, counsel said that his client posed no risk of flight, had a fixed address, had an outstanding recording of attending court in his other matters and had been cooperating with police investigations.

The Magistrate told Pindar that the prosecution failed in its attempt to persuade her to refuse bail to Corbin. Moreover, upon inquiring, the Magistrate was told that the other two accused had been granted their pre-trial liberty and placed on $250,000 bail each.

After stating that “equity is equality,” the Magistrate said that she was going to grant Corbin his pre-trial liberty also. He was then admitted to bail in the sum of $250,000 for each charge.

The matter was transferred to Court One for September 8, when Corbin will be arraigned jointly with the other two accused as requested by the prosecution.

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