By C. Winnie Saywah-Jimmy
Criminal Court ‘D’ has entered a ‘Not guilty’ plea in accordance with law for all four defendants who having been arraigned before the court on Tuesday, February 18, pleaded ‘guilty’ of the commission of the crime of ‘Armed Robbery.’
Yesterday, presiding Judge, Emery Paye, said having perused the case file and hearing all four defendants enter a plea of ‘guilty’, it is incumbent upon the court to enter a plea of not guilty on their behalf especially so when they were accused of threatening the lives of three of their victims while allegedly carrying out the act.
Judge Paye said the charge of Armed Robbery to which the defendants are attached is a felony of the 1st degree and according to law, there must be a not guilty plea in favor of the defendants to enable prosecution take the stand to prove the guilt of the defendants as required by law.
Entering a plea of ‘Not guilty’ on behalf of the defendants, the presiding judge of the criminal court said it will afford prosecution the opportunity to prove their case. Prosecution who interposed no objection also injected that since the matter is no longer based on law, it should be tried by an empanel jury to determine its facts.
To this also, defense did not object therefore the matter was then proceeded with by the judge and prosecution introduced two witnesses in persons of one of the complainants, Lewis P. Gibson who testified that he was made to lie flat on the floor at about 2 a.m. on April 9, 2010 in the New Georgia Old Field Community by the alleged armed robbers.
Witness Lewis said he did not recognize any of the perpetrators and therefore could not point to any particular defendant in the dock but told the court and jury that he was slapped with a cutlass on his back while the robbers made away with several items including slippers, lappas, a camera, a radio, tape recorder and a battery averter.
All items were exposed to the witness to identify his if they were among the loots and he identified all except the camera which was not seen and when the jury tried to pose the question that he had earlier informed the court about a missing camera, Judge Paye quickly told him to let that answer be tabled.
The new chief of the Anti Robbery Unit, Johnnie Bollar Dean, took the stand following the discharge of witness Lewis and informed and attested to the investigation charge sheet signed by the then Chief of Anti Robbery and Deputy for Operations. It was observed that witness Dean took the stand with a piece of note which he looked on from time to time when answering any of the questions posed to him.
Following his testimony and cross examination, the defense counsel waived all rights to produce a witness and both parties are expected to enter final argument today in the courtroom of Criminal Court ‘D’ after which time the jury will return to their room for deliberation and come forth with a verdict.