Brac burglars are found guilty

After a two-day trial in Grand Court, Dwayne Augustus Fredericks was found guilty of the burglary that occurred in January 2005 at the Market Place in Cayman Brac.

Fredericks, 28, had chosen trial by judge alone. Chief Justice Anthony Smellie heard evidence on Monday this week and submissions on Tuesday.

He delivered his verdict on Tuesday afternoon. In it, he noted that two other defendants pleaded guilty previously and gave evidence for the Crown.

They were Tex Cordell Foster, 18 and Jason Phelan McCoy, 24.

The Chief Justice warned himself of the danger of convicting someone on the uncorroborated evidence of accomplices. He agreed there was a risk that accomplices would implicate someone else for their own purposes, such as receiving a lesser sentence.

In fact it was suggested that there may have been an unpaid debt between McCoy and Fredericks and a grudge between Foster and Fredericks.

Crown Counsel Trevor ward had pointed out that the two who pleaded guilty had done so soon after the burglary and had almost from the inception named Fredericks as being involved.

The Chief Justice indicated he could not see how Foster or McCoy had anything to gain by falsely implicating another person.

He pointed out that a police officer on patrol the night of the burglary had seen Foster, McCoy and Fredericks together outside a bar near the Market Place. It was around 1.10 am when the officer passed and the group laughed and jeered at police.

This incident must have occurred shortly before the burglary was carried out and it placed Fredericks at the scene, the chief Justice said.

He concluded he was satisfied by all the evidence so that he felt sure Fredericks had taken part in the burglary.

The Crown’s case was that Foster, who worked at the Market Place and had inside knowledge, was the one who broke a window to gain entrance. Fredericks entered and opened a rear door for Foster.

McCoy served as lookout, then assisted the others in loading the store’s safe onto a truck. The safe was taken up on the Bluff and broken into.

According to details of the charge, the safe’s contents had included cash in the sum of CI$10,670.72 and US$2,102.67; cheques totalling CI$1,917.44 and US$200; charge account receipts of CI$735 and a quantity of phone cards.

The burglary took place the night of the National Heroes holiday.

The truck used to carry the safe away was one which had been left at the nearby bar by a customer. The court heard a statement from the truck’s owner; he said he had called his wife to come and pick him up because he had had too much to drink.

Sentencing for all three defendants was adjourned until Friday morning.