Charles Ebanks and Edward Azan commended as offenders get six years
robbery of Blackbeard’s Liquor at Grand Harbour were commended in open court on
Monday by Justice Richard Williams, who sentenced each of the offenders to six
Jordon Bryson Powell, 18, and Jonathan
Samuel Welcome, 17, were originally charged with attempted murder as well as
two attempted robberies, possession of an unlicensed firearm and possession of
a prohibited weapon (pepper spray) based on incidents that occurred on the
afternoon of Monday, 2 May.
The gun was later examined and found to be
inoperable, so the charges were amended.
However, as Justice Williams pointed out,
common sense dictated that the attempted robbery of the store would have been a
frightening ordeal for the staff, who would not know that the shotgun was
Then, when Powell and Welcome left the
store, Charles Ebanks and Edward Azan, on realising that a robbery was taking
place, sought to intervene and assist the possible victims.
“To make matters worse, Welcome pointed the
imitation firearm in Mr. Ebanks’ face and demanded his money and jewellery, and
then he pulled the trigger and the imitation firearm failed to discharge,”
Justice Williams summarised. “Mr. Ebanks, who would not have known with any
degree of certainty that the gun was useless, then bravely grabbed the barrel
of the shotgun.” Powell, who was carrying the pepper spray, became involved,
Mr. Ebanks wrestled away the gun and Mr. Azan joined in to thwart the masked
Powell and Welcome then ran, but were caught
by Mr. Ebanks and Mr. Azan along with other citizens who assisted them.
In passing sentence, the judge said he had
to “strongly commend Mr. Ebanks and Mr. Azan for their utter bravery, clearly
putting their safety at real risk in order to protect law-abiding members of
the community. They, like the store staff, were not to know that the firearm
was non-functioning. The public should rightly hold them in high regard for
their selfless service to the community.”
Justice Williams added a caution: “That said,
it would be wrong for me to openly encourage other members of the civilian
community to place themselves in potential harm in this way when faced with
such obvious danger.
“One might rightly think that if these two
gentlemen could step forward in this way for their community, then the very
least that one should expect from others in the community who have witnessed,
or who have information concerning those who commit, such serious crimes, that
they should assist the police by sharing that information with them.”
Full details in the Caymanian Compass print