Jose Barker, the man who allegedly mugged the retired British soldier who returned to Guyana to join in the country’s 50th independence anniversary celebration, was yesterday charged with the crime and remanded to prison.
The city court of Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan heard that on May 30th, at Croal Street, Georgetown, Barker, 34, of Holmes Street, allegedly stole a gold chain, valued $180,000, from Edward John Constant. The charge also stated that sometime before, during or after the robbery, Barker used personal violence on Constant.
Barker pleaded not guilty to the charge and his lawyer, Adrian Thompson, claimed that he was charged due to a case of mistaken identity.
Thompson told the court that Barker was innocent of the charge and sought reasonable bail for him. The lawyer noted that his client was not a flight risk and was willing to meet any conditions the court sets in order for bail to be granted.
Thompson listed several reasons why his client should be released on bail, including the number cases currently before the court. According to him, the case should not be given any special preference just because the virtual complainant is not a Guyanese.
He further told the court that Constant’s statements can be taken via Skype when trial commences.
Police Prosecutor Neville Jeffers objected to bail based on the seriousness of the offence, the prevalence of the crime and the nature of the attack, in which personal violence was used.
Jeffers said that Barker was positively identified by Constant during an identification parade that was conducted by the police. He also said that the stolen article was not recovered by the police as yet.
The Chief Magistrate subsequently remanded Barker to prison and adjourned the proceedings until June 16 for statements.
Constant was robbed of a gold chain along with his late wife’s engagement and wedding rings in the vicinity of the Stabroek Market on Monday, while he was site seeing. Constant had been 19 years old when he travelled to Guyana in 1966, and had served from March to October that year in the Middlesex Regiment.
He had witnessed when the Union Jack was lowered and replaced with the Golden Arrowhead that year.