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Fourth Western Union robber jailed

Fourth Western Union robber jailed

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The fourth person in the January 15, 2008, robbery at Western Union was sentenced to prison earlier this week.{{more}}

Resident High Court Judge Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle slapped Orlando Spencer with a ten-year custodial sentence on Tuesday after a nine-member jury returned a guilty verdict shortly after 12pm.

Spencer pleaded not guilty to stealing over EC$12,300, US$839 and cheques amounting to EC$600, the property of Western Union Money Transfer.

Representing himself at the trial, Spencer claimed that he was beaten by the police and forced to give a statement. He said that the police was trying to frame him and that he did not tell them anything about his involvement in the robbery.

In February 2009, Grenadian, John Raymond, 28, was sentenced to seven years imprisonment. Vincentian, Aaron Francois, 19, was given a five-year custodial sentence for his involvement in the robbery, which occurred on January 15, 2008. Justice Gertel Thom gave the lone female of the trio – 18-year-old Sabrina Phillips, a three-year suspended sentence.

At that time, the court heard that Joan Davis arrived at her workplace that morning when accused Orlando Spencer and a then pregnant Sabrina Phillips entered the building. They both stayed there for a short while before exiting without doing any business. Moments later, two men, identified as Raymond and Francois, stormed into the business place, one with a gun, the other equipped with a knife. Raymond is said to have raised the gun at Davis and told her to keep quiet and not to make any noise.

Francois on the other hand, armed with a knife, jumped over the counter and held Davis by her throat. He told her that all they wanted was the money and that she wouldn’t get hurt. Davis showed the men where the money was, and they packed it into a black bag. Francois then carried Davis in the rear of the building, where he tied her hands and feet with plastic handcuffs. Her co-workers later discovered Davis unharmed. A search was later conducted at a house where Phillips and Spencer occupied at the time and found plastic handcuffs and a grey and black knapsack.

In the middle of trial, Justice Bruce-Lyle asked for the jury to be excused so that he could speak to Spencer. Bruce-Lyle told the prisoner that the evidence against him was overwhelming and that he was giving him a chance to plead guilty. “If you make the jury come back and return a verdict of guilty, I will sink you in prison,” Bruce-Lyle asserted.

However, Spencer remained adamant in maintaining his not guilty plea.

Before being sentenced, Spencer got a heavy tongue-lashing from the judge. “You’re not a virgin to the law and you don’t want to learn a lesson from your time in jail,” the judge said. He accused Spencer of being the mastermind behind the robbery and “instead of pleading guilty, you decided to waste everybody’s time. If you had pleaded guilty like your other colleagues, I would have been lenient on you…Now I am going to sink you.”

The judge also lauded the valiant efforts by the police in nabbing the four robbers. “We lash the police so often and no praise came from the media. These officers need to be rewarded or if they had not responded so quickly, you might have been walking the streets a free man,” Bruce-Lyle added.