Teen who robbed market gets two-and-a-half years

The teenager who took part in a robbery at Chisholm’s Supermarket in North Side last year has been sentenced to two-and-a-half years’ imprisonment.

He was 16 when he entered the market with another person on Sept. 23, 2013, and used force or fear of force to steal cash and goods valued at $1,495.

Defense attorney Irvin Banks said the teen had admitted the robbery almost immediately after he and three others were arrested by officers guided by the police helicopter that followed their car from Frank Sound Road into East End.

Mr. Banks said although the teen admitted the robbery, he had pleaded not guilty to possession of an imitation firearm used with intent to commit the robbery. It took a while for him to accept that he was equally guilty with the man who carried the gun because the robbery was a joint enterprise. Only then did he plead guilty and avoid a trial.

During sentencing last week, Justice Quin summarized what had been said about the teen’s background, including a difficult family life. The defendant had been expelled from high school and placed in the Alternative Education Centre, where he was introduced to ganja. He was later placed in a therapeutic community centre. It was said that he had not been handled by qualified professionals and he developed an anti-authoritarian attitude and never returned to school.

It was also noted that Cayman does not have a juvenile justice center.

The Crown and defense agreed on sentencing guidelines and the fact that they are different from guidelines for adults. The judge found that four years was the appropriate term for the teen, but his early guilty plea to the robbery entitled him to a full one-third discount. The result was two years, six months, with time in custody to be deducted. A sentence for the imitation firearm was made to run concurrent.

Justice Quin then went on to comment: “Counsel for this defendant has presented to this court what has been described as the inadequacy of and the failures in rehabilitative and therapeutic provisions in the Cayman Islands which seem to be incapable of turning back the antisocial and criminal behavior in some youth.

“However, I need to say this to this defendant… All over the world there are thousands of children and teenagers who have faced difficulties far worse than yours. The Cayman Islands is not the worst place to live with the worst facilities in the world. Some children would have done anything to receive the assistance you have received through the institutions we have in the Cayman Islands.

“But understand this: You and you alone are responsible for your actions – no one else. You decide whether you want to go along the right path or along the wrong path. There are many students in schools and colleges who started out with less than you have had and have made something of themselves. They were determined to do the right thing and not the wrong thing and, in so doing, they found many persons to assist them along the way.

“You are young and you can make a change. But only you can decide that. No one else. Use the next two years well. Learn what you can and stay away from drugs and trouble. There is professional assistance if you reach out in the right direction. You are no longer a child, you are an adult. Wake up to that reality and turn away from crime now.”

The teen was the last of the four involved in the robbery to be sentenced.

Courtney Mason Bryan, the robber who had the gun, received a term of four years. He was 20 at the time of the robbery.

Ian Ellington, 29, received a two-year sentence after pleading guilty to being an accessory after the fact. He drove the getaway car.

Odain LLoyd Ebanks, 19, was placed on probation after spending more than six months in custody. He pleaded guilty to handling stolen goods. The two years’ probation includes one year on strict curfew.

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