Crown opens CNB robbery trial

Evidence of confessed participant is critical, prosecutor acknowledges

Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards opened the Crown’s case on Friday against four men who have pleaded not guilty to robbing the Buckingham Square branch of Cayman National Bank of over half a million dollars on June 28, 2012. 

David Tamasa, Rennie Cole, George Mignott and Andre Burton are accused of participating in the robbery by either aiding and abetting the robbery prior to its actual commission, committing the robbery, or playing a role afterwards by driving the getaway vehicle with the men while knowing they had robbed the bank, Ms. Richards said. 

She advised that much of the evidence in this case will come from one witness, Marlon Dillon. “He is an accomplice in the crime who himself has been charged and convicted of the offenses of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit an offense. He pleaded guilty to those offenses in the Grand Court and has been sentenced. 

“It is his evidence that he committed this robbery together with other persons. He will name or identify each of these defendants and describe the role that each played in respect of this robbery. Marlon Dillon’s evidence is critical to the Crown’s case and thus the central issue in this case will be his credibility and reliability,” Ms. Richards told the jury of four men and eight women. 

This witness’ evidence will be supported by work records, telephone evidence and general descriptions of the robbers, she noted. 

There was not likely to be any dispute that the bank was robbed and money was taken, she summarized. The issue for the jury will be who, other than Dillon, planned and committed the robbery. 

One of the witnesses to appear before the jury and Justice Ingrid Mangatal on Friday was Jerry Williams, the driver of an armored vehicle. He told the court he drove into Buckingham Square to drop off a deposit some time after 9 a.m. and he saw a car parked by the main door of CNB.  

It was a small white car that had reversed in so that its back was closest to the door of the bank. He then saw three men run out of the bank. They were masked and two had guns. He knew it was a robbery so he went forward in the van he was driving and used it to block the car so it couldn’t move. 

Mr. Williams said the shortest of the three robbers had a gun and beckoned to him to move out of the way. The witness said he did not move, so the robbers jumped out of the car and ran “towards the highway.” Buckingham Square is located between West Bay Road and the Esterley Tibbetts Highway. 

Mr. Williams said the two men with guns still had them when they came out of the car. He also noted that the men were carrying bags. When they ran out of the bank, he saw a bag of cash dropped by the car door. He stayed in his vehicle throughout the incident. After police came and taped off the scene and gave the okay, he left and went about his job. 

Defense counsel James Curtis, who represents Tamasa, asked if the time Mr. Williams arrived at CNB could have been dictated by someone at the bank. The witness replied that no one called him from the bank. He agreed that he would not receive a phone call from any of his locations requesting a pick-up or drop-off; calls from any of the banks usually came from his home office. 

As a follow-up question, Ms. Richards asked how Mr. Williams knew where to go. He explained how he received his schedule from the office on a weekly basis. 

The trial is scheduled to continue on Monday morning at 10 a.m.