No bail for West Ruimveldt duo charged over robbery spree

Two men were yesterday remanded to prison on charges that they committed numerous armed robberies and a break-in during a five-month period.

Both Travis Payne, 18, of Lot 461 West Ruimveldt and Nicholas Lane, 21, of Lot 59 West Ruimveldt pleaded not guilty to the charges against them when they appeared before Chief Magistrate Priya Sewnarine-Beharry.

It was alleged at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Court that on September 15, at West Ruimveldt, being armed with a gun, they robbed Cordell Forde of a BlackBerry cell phone valued $50,000. It was also alleged that at the same place, they also robbed Steven Vanvield of a laptop computer valued $80,000. It was further alleged that on October 28, at West Ruimveldt, they broke and entered the dwelling of Shondell Serrao and stole a flat screen television, valued $95,000 and on October 21, they broke and entered the home of Roshan Reid and stole a flat screen television and a laptop computer, valued $192,000 in total.

Prosecutor Bharat Mangru said that Vanvield was at home when the duo intruded and Lane allegedly stood at Vanvield’s doorway while Payne, armed with a gun, carted off Vanvield’s laptop computer. Mangru said that the men and Vanvield are familiar with each other.

Mangru also said that on October 28, Serrao secured her home and went to work. When she returned home, she discovered it had been broken into and items were missing. The break-in was reported and during investigations police officers found out that Payne and Lane were selling the stolen items within the area, according to Mangru.

 Separate charges

Payne faced additional separate charges, to which he also pleaded not guilty.

The charges stated that on June 1, at East Ruimveldt, armed with a knife, Payne robbed Carlotta John of a gold chain, valued $140,000, and also on November 1, at Mandela Avenue, he robbed Ron Robinson of $17,000.

In relation to the robbery of John, Mangru said that on June 1, she was at a shop when Payne entered and pretended to have an interest in purchasing a bottle of soda. He subsequently placed a knife at Carlotta’s neck and relieved her of the gold chain, Mangru said.

Mangru said that on November 1, Robinson, a minibus conductor, was on the minibus park within the Stabroek Market area when Payne joined the minibus. While a passenger inside of the minibus, he informed Robinson that he would like to get off at Mandela Avenue.

Mangru added that when the minibus stopped, Payne pulled out a knife and demanded that Robinson hand over his valuables, which amounted to $17,000.

Mangru objected to bail based on the seriousness and prevalence of the offences as well as the number of charges facing the accused. He was also concerned that if bail was granted, the duo might not return for trial.

Attorney Paul Fung-a-Fat, who represented the two men, said that they were not informed that they were being sought by the police. He added that since all the persons previously arrested have been released, the police officers subsequently decided to drop all the charges against his clients.

Fung-a-Fat also said that no identification parade was done and his clients did not sign a caution statement.  He also told the court that his clients were locked up for a much longer time than allowed by the law before being arraigned at court and added that Lane was beaten by the police.

Mangru, however, rebutted Fung-a-Fat’s claim, saying that Payne was arrested on Sunday last, while Lane turned himself in to police on Monday. Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry then told Mangru to look into the allegations made by Fung-a-Fat.

Magistrate Sewnarine-Beharry then inquired whether investigations into the matters are completed. Mangru said that the prosecution needs an additional three weeks to complete investigations and bail was subsequently refused and the duo was remanded to prison until December 19.


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