Three of four convicted in WestStar robbery

Phone records, CCTV of roads support main crown witness, judge says

Three of four men on trial for the May 2012 robbery at WestStar Television Centre were found guilty Wednesday afternoon.

Justice Alastair Malcolm, who heard the matter without a jury, found that David Tamasa and Andre Burton were two of the three people who had entered the premises with what appeared to be firearms and put people in fear of force in order to steal $8,269.35. He also found them guilty of possessing imitation firearms with intent to commit an offense.

He found Ryan Edwards guilty of providing the RVR vehicle that was used as the getaway car.

George Mignott was found not guilty of robbery and not guilty of possessing an imitation firearm.

The crown’s main witness was Marlon Dillon, an admitted accomplice. Justice Malcolm warned himself, as he would have warned a jury, that it is always dangerous to convict someone on the unsupported evidence of an accomplice.

He agreed that Dillon gave statements that were shown to be inconsistent. But the judge pointed out that these only went to his credibility: his evidence was what he said from the witness box in court.

The judge found that evidence from phone records and the government system of CCTV cameras on the roads supported Dillon.

While accepting that phone calls are not necessarily made by the owner of a phone, he found that the tracking of phones belonging to Tamasa and Burton supported what Dillon had said about where he drove them.

In particular, Dillon had said he drove the robbers from West Bay to George Town. After the robbery, he said, he drove them to a particular yard in George Town so that Tamasa could return one of the guns used. Phone records placed Tamasa and Burton in that yard, but there was no evidence to support the assertion that Mignott was in the yard after the robbery.

Dillon first came to the attention of police after his car was used in the robbery of the Cayman National Bank branch in Buckingham Square on West Bay Road on June 28, 2012.

While in custody in connection with that matter, Dillon volunteered information about the earlier WestStar matter.

Tamasa, Mignott, Edwards and Burton, along with Rennie Cole, were charged in connection with the CNB robbery and found guilty by a 12-member jury on May 9 this year.

The men charged in the WestStar robbery were to have been tried later in May. However, as Justice Malcolm explained, shortly before trial was to begin, Ryan Edwards confessed to the WestStar robbery. He said he carried it out with Dillon and two Jamaicans whose true names he did not know. He identified them as “Blacks” and “Fattaroy.”

Specifically, Edwards said in his confession that Tamasa, Burton and Mignott were not involved.

As a result, Dillon was interviewed again this year, and he made significant changes to statements he gave last year. Those changes were attacked by defense attorneys as reasons why Dillon should not be believed. However, Justice Malcolm noted that there were significant issues on which Dillon’s account did not change.

He said he would pass sentence on Tamasa, Burton and Edwards on Friday. First, however, they will appear along with Mignott and Cole before Justice Alexander Henderson for the robbery of Cayman National Bank.