Tortuga robbery charges advanced

Two men remanded in custody

Two men were remanded in custody after appearing in Summary Court this week charged with the robbery at Tortuga Liquor Store in West Bay on Monday, 28 February.

Dennis Jordan Ebanks, 20, and John Jason McLaughlin, 33, are jointly charged with stealing approximately $2,000 from the store and using force against persons in the store at the time.

In connection with the incident, McLaughlin is also charged with possession of an unlicensed firearm with intent to commit an offence. The type of firearm was not specified.

Ebanks’ address is in the Savannah area. McLaughlin’s address is in West Bay.

Defence Attorneys Lloyd Samson and John Furniss applied for bail on behalf of the men on Tuesday.

Mr. Samson argued that the case against Ebanks was circumstantial, based on a car linked to the scene of the robbery. Mr. Furniss said the only link to McLaughlin came when Ebanks was questioned by police and mentioned giving a ride to McLaughlin.

Both attorneys said their client denied the charge and the matter would be going to trial. Crown Counsel Kenneth Ferguson did not agree that the case against either man was weak and he cited other details.

Chief Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale pointed out that robbery is not a charge for which a person has a right to bail unless there are exceptional circumstances. She said the case on paper was not so weak as to be a circumstance in which the court should admit the men to bail.

“I am going to err on the side of caution,” she said in refusing the applications. However, she added, that was not the end of the matter.

Under a recent amendment to the Criminal Procedure Code, she transmitted their case to the Grand Court, which is the only court that can try robbery charges. The men will be able to make a fresh bail application there.

They were scheduled to appear in the higher court on Friday, 11 March.