Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran opened the Crown’s case on Tuesday against three men charged in connection with a robbery on the beach at Morritt’s Resort on Christmas Eve last year.
Marvin Gregory Grant is charged with the robbery – that he stole a quantity of packages from a named person and at the time of doing so put the man in fear of force being used. Fred Allon McLaughlin and Al Elford McLaughlin are charged with aiding and abetting Mr. Grant.
All three are charged with conspiracy to supply controlled drugs.
Mr. Moran explained that the packages washed up on the beach at Morritt’s on Dec. 24. They were shaped like bricks, wrapped tightly in black plastic and green duct tape.
Police were called and the packages were put under a chair, with a staff member sitting on the chair to guard them until police arrived. The Crown’s case was that Mr. Grant was the masked man who approached the guard and said, “This is for me,” in reference to the packages. He then took them up in his arms and hurried up the path from the beach to the car park area.
He was pursued by the guard who had been waiting for police. A red truck reversed in a manner that appeared to deliberately block the guard’s path. The Crown alleged that Fred McLaughlin was the driver of the truck.
Mr. Moran shared binders of documents with jurors. These included photos taken from CCTV footage around the resort property.
They also included telephone records. One record showed a call to Al McLaughlin from his wife, who worked at the resort. The Crown’s case is that this defendant organized the robbery by telephone after receiving the call from his wife. Records showed several calls between the men within a specific time frame.
Mr. Moran said one of the packages that washed up was left behind at the scene and jurors had a picture of the package. Mr. Moran said the package was analyzed and found to contain approximately one kilo of cocaine. The other packages have never been recovered, he added.
Mr. Grant was arrested Christmas Eve night. He said he had been fishing in the afternoon and left his car at the East End dock with the keys in it and any of his friends could have borrowed it.
Fred McLaughlin was arrested and interviewed on Jan. 9. He told police he often drove to Morritt’s to see who was at the bar. On Christmas Eve, he drove up to the beachfront and looked around. He was shocked to see a masked man carrying something away and he believed something unlawful was taking place, so he reversed back out.
Al McLaughlin denied any involvement in the robbery, saying he had been home most of the day. On Jan. 29, police found a set of digital scales at his home and analysis showed traces of cocaine. He denied knowledge of the scales.
Mr. Moran cautioned that the Crown had to prove the case against each defendant and unless the case was proved, they were entitled to be acquitted.
He expected to bring his first witnesses to give their evidence on Wednesday morning.
Mr. Grant is represented by attorney Anthony Akiwumi; Fred McLaughlin by attorneys Laurence Aiolfi and Jonathon Hughes; and Al McLaughlin by attorney Crister Brady.