Would-be robber gets three years

Teen stabbed while attempting crime

Romario Davis, 19, was sentenced to three years imprisonment after pleading guilty to attempted robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit robbery.

His intended victim, Lebert Thompson of Wright’s Barber Shop, asked the court to be lenient because Mr. Thompson knew Davis’ family and how ashamed they were. ‘I hope he learns by his mistake and turns over a new sheet on his life,’ Mr. Thompson said.

Justice Charles Quin said he admired Mr. Thompson for his brave action in defending himself and his premises, which helped police apprehend Davis.

That defensive action was described by Crown Counsel Alistair Cumming. He said the incident occurred on 23 October 2008 around 6.45pm, when Mr. Thompson was cutting a customer’s hair.

A man walked into the shop dressed in black, including a mask. He held a dark-coloured gun at Mr. Thompson’s stomach and said ‘Give me the money.’

Mr. Thompson thought it was a joke and laughed. Then another man walked into the shop. He was also dressed in full black.

Mr. Thompson grabbed the gun pointed at him and started a struggle. He felt the metal and thought the gun was real. The second man also had a gun and approached him. Mr. Thompson picked up a knife and stabbed the man, cutting him somewhere in the upper left side of his body.

The two men then ran from the shop. As they ran, Mr. Thompson saw a third man run with them. He saw the three run toward North Sound Way and then turn into a lane. Shortly after that, a car sped out of the lane.

Mr. Thompson went back to the shop and phoned police. They attended the shop and then went to the hospital. About 7.10pm a car pulled in at the hospital and a man got out seeking attention for a wound to his side.

He and two others were arrested on suspicion of attempted robbery.

Attorney Ben Tonner said Davis was the injured person, receiving wounds to his outer arm, inner arm and chest. ‘He is genuinely remorseful, not only because of his injuries but because he has had time to reflect that he has gone down the wrong path.

‘What motivated him to take part in a foolish endeavour is a mystery,’ the attorney said, noting Davis had never been in any trouble – not even for a traffic ticket. He added that Davis had recently been laid off from his job.

Reference letters referred to Davis as respectful, not afraid of hard work, and a young man full of potential.

Justice Quin said robbery of a small business with an imitation firearm was a very serious offence. The victim couldn’t be sure that the firearm was not real. ‘The fear and the terror you caused is a factor which I must take into account,’ he told Davis.

He also pointed to the element of planning, in that Davis had worn a disguise.

The maximum sentence is life imprisonment, he noted.

But he took into account Davis’ age, the guilty plea, remorse, references and, most importantly, the request for leniency by the victim, Mr. Thompson.