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Judge: “Did you go to the school of thievery?”

Judge: “Did you go to the school of thievery?”

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Justice Frederick Bruce-Lyle’s message that he would not stand for time wasting must not have reached Calvert Buntyn.

Buntyn went through nearly an entire trial legally unrepresented, during which evidence given by the police indicated that he was the man who committed the crime.{{more}}

Justice Bruce-Lyle sentenced Buntyn to seven years imprisonment on two counts of robbery on Wednesday at the High Court. Buntyn, 29, of Richmond Hill, changed his not guilty plea in the absence of the jury when the judge pointed out to him that it was he that the police saw, and the evidence against him was overwhelming.

Buntyn was jointly charged with Jamarie Quashie, 24, labourer of Walvaroo, who pleaded guilty to both charges and was sentenced to three years in prison after pleading guilty at the start of the trial.

The duo was charged with robbing Shemley McCoy, 18, of Sandy Bay and Daniya Clarke, a 16 year-old student of Green Hill, on Monday, July 9, 2007, about 2:30 am at the Grammar School Playing field pavilion.

In Clarke’s evidence, she told the court that it was J’Ouvert morning and she and McCoy went to the pavilion to sit and talk. While there, Clarke said she saw a man standing on the playing field wearing a bandana around his face and a yellow wig on his head. “I wasn’t even studying him because it was J’Ouvert morning”, Clarke stated.

Clarke said she fell asleep in McCoy’s lap and was awakened by a hand lifting her up by her shoulder and saw it was the same man with the bandana over his face. “He was holding a knife to me and asked me if I had any money,” recalled Clarke. While all this was taking place, Clarke said the other man was holding McCoy.

McCoy told the court that while he was being held, the man searched his pocket and took $13. “He even asked for my cell phone and looked at it then gave it back to me,” said the youngster.

Moments later, McCoy said he saw a man coming from the Kingstown Preparatory School dressed in a shirt marked “Police” on the back. He said the man jumped over the fence and apprehended both men.

A bit under the weather, arresting officer Corporal 648 Elvis Thomas said that he and his men from the Rapid Response Unit were patrolling Kingstown and were walking along the Prep School area when they saw what was going on. Thomas said he pulled his service pistol and shouted “Police”. The officer said he immediately recognized Buntyn who was attempting to jump over from the pavilion. The other man (Quashie) was caught and was told to remove the bandana from his face. Thomas said Buntyn admitted taking the money and said that McCoy owed him. McCoy refuted Buntyn’s statement on the spot and said he had never seen him before the incident.

The judge chided Buntyn and said, “You are a vicious individual. Did you go to the school of thievery?” Bruce Lyle asked Quashie why he did it and he replied, “I didn’t want to do it. I was forced, my Lordship.”

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