Tattooed nine-finger suspect, Steve Singh and his alleged accomplice, Patrick Smith are likely to spend Christmas in jail for allegedly burglarising two prominent business entities located at Eccles, East Bank Demerara.
Bound together by shackles, the duo appeared before Senior Magistrate Sunil Scarce at the Providence Magistrate’s Court yesterday to answer to charges of break and enter and larceny.
Singh, 24, a fisherman of Lot 9 Riverview, Ruimveldt, and Smith, 26, a sailor of Lot 164 Curtis Street, Albouystown, pleaded not guilty to the charge which alleged that between May 4 and May 6, 2017, they broke and entered Southland Distributors Limited, at Industrial Site, Eccles, East Bank Demerara, and stole $20M in cash and a Dell laptop valued at $146,000.
The duo also denied a charge that they broke and entered Sueria Manufacturing Incorporated and carted off a canister valued at $20,000 and some $340,000 in cash.
Maintaining that he never committed any crimes before, Smith told the Magistrate that he would rather face a trial in the High Court. The accused quickly changed his mind, however, after he was informed that he can get more jail time in the High Court.
“I want the matter try right here,” he said, emphasizing that he doesn’t know anything about the charges he is currently facing. Smith essentially told the court that he has a clean police record.
“I never trouble nobody thing. I don’t thief. The police lock me up and tell me that I carry some man fuh thief, but me ain’t even know this man,” he rambled, pointing to Singh.
His alleged accomplice on the other hand admitted that he has faced similar allegations before. These included charges of robbery, simple larceny and break and enter with larceny, and being in possession of stolen property.
Singh nevertheless stood in protest, stating that he knows nothing about the break-ins at Eccles.
He instead claimed that he was beaten by the police and forced to sign statements.
“My worship, I will like to say something. I been in the lock-ups seven days now and police dey beating meh and telling me that I deh on some camera footage with a tattoo. They put a bag over meh head and beat me bad. Right now, I got nuff marks of violence pun meh skin,” Singh said
The defendant volunteered to remove his shirt to show his scars. The Magistrate obliged and motioned Singh to step out of the prisoner’s dock to get a closer look at his body.
However, even in close proximity of the bench, Magistrate Scarce asserted “I am not seeing anything.”
“Madame Prosecutor, maybe you can see it (the marks),” the Magistrate added.
However, Prosecutor Adunni Innis said that she too could not see any visible marks.
Both men had petitioned the court for bail.
“I see no reason why you should refuse bail. I got three children to mine,” Singh told the Court.
Innis told the court that she would be opposing bail on the grounds that the men are likely to face similar charges in relation to other matters against them. She noted that the police are still conducting investigations into those matters.
In an apparent desperate attempt to secure bail, Smith told the Court that he can prove that he was not involved in the crime.
“When the matter happened in May, I was in jail ask he,” Smith said, pointing to his co-accused, Singh.
The man’s words caused an outburst of laughter in the courtroom, as he was reminded that he had previously told the court that he did not know the man standing next to him in the prisoner’s dock.
The Magistrate then reprimanded the accused that he should not lie to the Court.
“I thought you said you don’t know each other. You even said that you never had any matter in Court before. What were you in prison for?”
“It was robbery. I de doing a six months sentence,” Smith replied. But I swear that I never thief nothing. I got seven children your Worship,” he beseeched the court.
At this juncture, however, the Magistrate informed the two men that they will be refused bail until January, 3, 2018 when the matter is expected to come up in for statement and fixtures. He told them that the option is available for them to apply to the High Court for bail.
Just last week, Singh was nabbed by police after investigators unearthed surveillance photographs of a suspect bearing tattoos identical to the one on his forearm. The bandit also had a missing finger on his right hand, the same finger that he has missing as well.
At the time of his arrest, Singh was driving a white Toyota Allion.
Confronted by detectives, Singh, denied any knowledge of the burglary at the Industrial Site premises last Thursday.
But he became silent when investigators showed him photographs of a man with a tattoo like his, and with a missing finger, picking up cash and cheques in the same building.
The suspect was also questioned about a spate of other breakages at other business places. At around 01:00 hrs on November 30, three men, who were all barefooted, broke into Sueria Manufacturing and carted off an undisclosed sum of cash and a safe. The bandits spent about five minutes ransacking an office. In a video provided to Kaieteur News, three men are seen at a desk, which is located in one of the offices.
While one of the bandits searched through drawers and took money out of several envelopes, an accomplice placed the cash into a black plastic bag while the third held a flashlight.
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