Robbery of a woman walking alone at night resulted in a sentence for Alvin Shaquille Ebanks of 32 months imprisonment.
Robbery by definition involves use of force, but in this case Justice Michael Mettyear pointed to the aggravating factors: Ebanks wore a mask that covered all but his eyes and he used a large knife or sword that had a curved blade. He put the weapon to the woman’s throat; her skin was touched but not cut. The woman told police her assailant reminded her of a ninja.
The experience must have been horrifying, the judge commented.
The one mitigating factor was the defendant’s age – the robbery occurred in April 2014, when he was one month past his 17th birthday.
Crown counsel Nicole Petit said the woman was walking on West Bay Road in the vicinity of Royal Palms around 10:45 p.m. She was speaking on her cell phone and had her handbag over her right shoulder. When the weapon was put to her throat and the bag taken, she was pushed to the ground and sustained minor injuries.
Ms. Petit said a man who was driving by had seen two males acting suspiciously. When he and his passenger heard a woman scream, they stopped to assist. She told them she had been robbed and the two witnesses gave chase as the males ran towards the beach. They then abandoned their pursuit on foot and went back to their vehicle. As they drove along they saw the defendant coming back from the beach closer to George Town.
The witnesses drove after him and he jumped a fence in an effort to elude them. Police were called to the scene and Ebanks subsequently emerged from an area of bush. He was identified by his clothing, his light complexion and his light hair. He denied being involved in the robbery.
Ms. Petit said Ebanks continued to deny the robbery and at least two trial dates were set. On one occasion the victim was not available. A third trial date was set and Ebanks pleaded guilty three days in advance of it.
Defense attorney John Furniss accepted that the guilty plea was late. He told the court that Ebanks had said it was the man with him who had grabbed the woman’s handbag. However, the young man now accepted responsibility on the basis of joint enterprise. The mask, he added, was nothing more than a t-shirt tied around Ebanks’ face.
The defendant has good mechanical skills, the attorney noted, and had been using his time in custody to do an air-conditioning course.
In passing sentence, Justice Mettyear praised the courage and resourcefulness of the two witnesses who had pursued Ebanks.
He said the social inquiry report made for very sorry reading, although Mr. Furniss had done his best to find something positive in it. With little parental guidance, Ebanks appeared to have chosen a life of gangs, drugs and anti-social behavior.
The sentence would have been considerably longer except for Ebanks’ age, Justice Mettyear said. Starting at three years, he gave a discount for the guilty plea but said it would be only 10 percent instead of the usual one-third because the plea was entered so late.