…Attorney argues case of mistaken identity
Attorney Adrian Thompson is of the belief that his client is innocent of robbing former British soldier
Edward John Constant last week Monday at Croal Street, Georgetown, and that it was a clear case of mistaken identity on the ex-soldier’s part.
This contention was made by the lawyer yesterday before Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan as he petitioned for robbery accused José Barker to be released on bail.
Barker, 34, of Howes Street, Charlestown, Georgetown, appeared in the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts just one day after he was identified by the former soldier as the perpetrator.
It is alleged that on May 30, at Croal Street, Georgetown, Barker robbed Constant of a gold chain valued $180,000 and made use of personal violence immediately before, during or after the robbery.
Baker pleaded not guilty to the allegation and was remanded to prison until June 16, for statements, despite a compelling bail application from his attorney.
It was reported that the former soldier, who was present in court yesterday, came to Guyana to celebrate the country’s Golden Independence. On the day in question, he had left his hotel to visit the bank to exchange foreign currency. He reportedly did not get to complete the transaction and went sightseeing in the Stabroek Market.
However, Constant was reportedly attacked by a man who relieved him of his gold chain. In an interview with this publication, the visitor recalled that someone grabbed his shirt from behind and pulled off the chain. He recalled punching the thief to the side of his head and chasing after him barefooted.
The 70-year-old man pointed out that the items meant a lot to him. He said, “My wife bought me the gold chain…she bought me a gold chain before she died and I put her wedding ring and her engagement ring on it and it’s gone.”
Thompson, during his address to the court, maintained that this was a case of mistaken identity. He pointed out that his client had been professing his innocence from the time he was apprehended by police. He pleaded with the court to not give preference to the complainant when considering bail just because he is not a Guyanese.
The Attorney highlighted that someone had already identified the robber to the complainant. This, Thompson stressed, helped the victim with identifying his client on an identification parade.
Thompson said that he believes his client is innocent of the charge and should the prosecutor oppose bail, he needs to prove that Barker would not attend court.
According to the attorney, his client was not a flight risk and was willing to comply with any conditions attached to bail, including having to surrender his passport.
Further, he stated that the defendant has no pending or previous matters before the court.
In support of his application, Thompson pointed out that there is a likelihood that his client would not be afforded trial within a reasonable time due to an overload of matters before the court despite Magistrates’ efforts to have them disposed of in a timely manner.
However, this bail application was met with objection from Police Prosecutor, Inspector Neville Jeffers. The prosecutor asked that bail be denied for the defendant citing the seriousness, prevalence and nature of the offence. He emphasized that Barker was identified by the complainant on an identification parade and the fact that personal violence was used during the robbery. He informed the court that the item was not recovered.
Jeffers added that there is one statement outstanding from the police file and efforts are being made by the investigating rank to have it completed.
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