After a two-day trial that began on Monday, a Grand Court jury found Ovideo Anthonio Moses Bodden not guilty of robbery and possession of an imitation firearm with intent to commit robbery.
The charges arose from an incident in the vicinity of Walkers Road on the night of May 4, 2016.
The complainant/victim was the only witness for the prosecution, which was conducted by Crown counsel Neil Kumar.
The witness said he had left home around 11 p.m. to get some milk at the gas station. On his way back, he took a shortcut. Two masked men jumped over a wall; they had guns and told him to stop. A third man, not masked, came through a gate – he had a small gun.
The unmasked man told him to hand over all his money. The victim said he handed over his phone and a little bit of cash. The unmasked man came close enough to search the victim’s pockets, where he found a bracelet and took it.
“I had a clear view of his face,” the witness said. He quoted the robber as saying words to the effect, “This is not a joke ting” or “You think this is a joke ting?” He admitted that was when he got scared. He was told to go to the main road, so he picked up his milk and candy and wheeled his bike out to the main road. He immediately went to the police station and reported what had happened.
In summing up the evidence and instructing the jury on law, Justice Paul Worsley pointed out that the only question was whether the witness’s identification of the defendant as the robber was correct.
He said they should consider factors such as the lighting, distance and length of time the person was in sight. He cautioned that an honest person can be mistaken and they needed to consider the circumstances in which the viewing occurred.
The judge pointed out that this had been a very frightening experience and jurors needed to consider whether the victim was so shaken up that he misremembered.
Defense attorney Lee Halliday-Davis had cross-examined the witness about describing the robber as having a fair complexion. The witness replied that the robber was lighter than he was. There were also questions about height, weight, hair style, color of clothing and speech.
The witness had said the robber spoke with what he considered was a Caymanian accent. When the defendant gave evidence, he spoke in Spanish and had the assistance of a translator throughout the trial.
Bodden, 20 at the time of the incident, was arrested on May 20, 2016 after he went into a George Town bar where the robbery victim happened to be. The victim had someone call police and when officer arrived he pointed out Bodden to them.
The defendant, who had no previous convictions, told the court that he was home in bed when the robbery occurred. He said he had worked long hours that day and was tired.
After the unanimous not guilty verdicts, Justice Worsley said the defendant could be discharged. He had been in custody since his arrest.