A woman and the two men who police say helped her rob a friend were yesterday each sentenced to five years in jail after being found guilty of the crime.
Alana Taylor, 37, a single mother of three, Peter McKenzie, 25, and Aniki Rogers, 21, were found guilty of robbing Taylor’s friend, Elizabeth Hendricks, of $341,000 worth of valuables, including a cellphone, a gold ring and a laptop on March 2, 2014.
Tensions were high during the announcement of the verdict yesterday by city magistrate Judy Latchman, who read a summation of the evidence that was led during trial.
The court noted that all three defendants gave sworn evidence and McKenzie had stated that he was employed as a pitman with Hendricks while working in the interior. McKenzie also told the court that Hendricks owed him $150,000 and that on the day in question he went to her home to collect the money. Rogers had claimed that he had only accompanied McKenzie to the home of Hendricks and was not there to rob her.
Magistrate Latchman found that Taylor was the mastermind of the crime as the evidence heard in court stated that she was the only person that knew the complainant was out of the interior.
She also stated that the court disbelieved that McKenzie went to the home of Hendricks to collect money he was owed; rather, it believed he went to commit a crime.
The court also disbelieved that Rogers had no role to play in the crime committed.
It was on these grounds that the defendants were found guilty of the charge.
After the men were found guilty, the defendants’ attorney, Dexter Todd, expressed his disappointment, while reiterating his client’s innocence. He then proceeded to give the court notice that he will be appealing the verdict.
Prior to sentencing, Magistrate Latchman told the defendants that the fact that there was a breach of trust on the part of Taylor, the well thought out and organised robbery, the use of violence, the fact that a gun was used and the need to prevent others from committing the offence helped to determine her decision.
The magistrate then sentenced each defendant to five years in jail, which resulted in both Taylor and Rogers breaking down in tears.
McKenzie was heard instructing family members to take care of his children as handcuffs were placed on his hands.
During the trio’s arraignment, Prosecutor Vishnu Hunt had said that the woman was wrongfully charged and that he had received instructions which vindicated her instead. However, the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) advised the police to proceed with the charges against her.