A City Magistrate yesterday sentenced one of the three men who were accused of robbing a Chinese businessman of millions in cash and items, to 56 months in jail, for the crime.
Charged were, Winston McKenzie, 35, of New Scheme, Eccles; Feyaud Amin, 29, of Lot 5 Meadow Bank, and Andry Vieira, 26, of Meadow Bank.
The charge against the trio stated that on May 20, 2017, at Craig, East Bank Demerara, while armed with handguns, they robbed Guy Zu Chen of fish glue, valued at $2,720,000, a bus valued at $2,300,000, $500,000 in cash, and three cellphones.
Trial Magistrate Judy Latchman dismissed the matter against McKenzie and Amin on the grounds that no prima facie case had been made out against them. Vieira, however, was told that he would have to lead his defence, as a prima facie case was made out against him.
Vieira opted to give unsworn evidence, telling the court that he is innocent of the crime. During his testimony he noted that when he was arrested he was shown a video in black and white and told by an officer that one of the persons was him. However, he noted that he told the officer the individual was not him, and when the video was later shown in colour, it turned out to be someone else.
“They lying on me” he said, “I would never give a statement against myself. I work hard and anything I want I buy”.
Attorney George Thomas then told the court that the prosecution had failed to prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt against his client. He further stated that the only evidence against his client is an oral statement, which the police allege that he gave, stating that he was the look-out man.
Additionally, Thomas said that when the video was shown to the court in colour, the defendant was not seen in the video. Thomas, argued that if his client could not see himself in the video why then would he make an oral statement and tell on himself if he did not feel cornered.
Police Prosecutor Shawn Gonsalves maintained that the prosecution had proved its case against the defendant beyond a reasonable doubt, and that the court ought to find the accused guilty. Gonsalves told the court that the prosecution had relied on the evidence given by the complainant, the defendant’s oral statement and the video footage.
Subsequently, Magis-trate Latchman rose from the court and returned sometime later with her ruling.
During the magistrate’s summation of the trial, she stated that when the video evidence was presented there was no image of the defendant in it.
However, she noted that she disbelieved that the defendant never gave an oral statement to the police.
The magistrate further said that although the defendant was not on the video footage, she would act on his oral statement. She added that she found that Vieira was indeed the look-out man and did in fact collect money after the commission of the crime.
Upon these grounds the defendant was found guilty of the crime.
In mitigation, Thomas told the court that when his client was first imprisoned he was beaten to a pulp while incarcerated because he was a witness in a murder matter.
Prior to sentencing the accused, Magistrate Latchman stated that she took into consideration the fact that the crime was well-organised and that violence was used.
Vieira was then sentenced to 56 months in jail, which caused him to shout “I can’t go back in jail budday! I can’t go back deh!”
His father and other family members stood by, weeping and begging the magistrate to reconsider her sentence.
Relativs could be heard shouting, “This man don’t thief! He work hard fah wah he get!”
An emotional Vieira was handcuffed and escorted out of the courtroom.