The three men who were last Friday found guilty of robbing land court judge Nicola Pierre and her husband Mohamed Chan, were yesterday jailed for 16 years each.
Magistrate Zamilla Ally-Seepaul handed down the sentence to Dameion Millington, Nicholas Narine and Warren McKenzie, who prior to sentencing, claimed they were innocent. The trio was found guilty of two counts of robbery under arms and two counts of felonious wounding. For each of the charges, they were sentenced to four years in prison which will run consecutively.
Laying out her reasons for the sentence, the magistrate said she had taken into account that on the night of the robbery, the men used guns, violence and had stolen cash and articles of a high value from the home.
Prior to sentencing, Narine, McKenzie and Millington begged the magistrate for mercy. “I’m innocent of the crime and I has no knowledge,” McKenzie told the court.
Magistrate Ally-Seepaul said she had also considered that the three men had spent time in prison while the trial was ongoing and had no prior convictions. However, she said, though the men were charged as accessories to the crime, what was made clear during the trial was that they all acted together and aided and abetted in the criminal enterprise.
“They were helpful and useful to each other,” the magistrate said. She also pointed out that both the virtual complainants suffered injuries that were very serious and life-threatening.
Special prosecutor in the matter Nigel Hughes and Magistrate Alex Moore, who came on behalf of Justice Pierre and her family, were present at the sentencing yesterday. Defence attorney Adrian Thompson and the virtual complainants were absent.
The crime was committed almost a year ago on the night of July 8, 2015 leading into the morning of July 9. Five men, who were armed with guns, entered the couple’s home and robbed them of cash and articles amounting to over $3.6 million. It was also alleged that when the men were escaping, they shot at a security guard.
On Friday, two of their co-accused, Premnauth Samaroo and Anthony David, were cleared of five charges: two counts of robbery under arms, two counts of felonious wounding and one count of discharging a loaded firearm. Thompson had appeared for Narine, Samaroo and David.
Following the sentencing, relatives of the convicts left the court yard in tears and lamented the “harsh” sentence imposed on the men. Some were heard saying that 16 years is too much and not even someone convicted of murder is sentenced to that amount of time in prison.
The three robbers came out the courtroom in tears, murmuring that their punishment was akin to one of murder and they cannot survive in jail.