The housekeeping manager at Morritt’s Resort was the first witness called in the trial of three men charged in connection with a robbery there on Christmas Eve last year.
Marvin Gregory Grant is charged with the robbery; Fred Allon McLaughlin and Al Elford McLaughlin are charged with aiding and abetting him. All three are charged with conspiracy to supply controlled drugs.
The witness, Rupert Scotchman, explained that he also assisted general manager Jose Kirchman when Mr. Kirchman was not on the premises. He said he received a message from the security guard around 4 p.m. on Dec. 24 and went to an area of the beach where the guard was. He said there was a package under the chair where the guard was: it looked like a gray or silver bag with barnacles on it. There were also other packages, black with green tape.
Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran asked him what he thought. “That they were drugs,” Mr. Scotchman replied.
Defense attorney Anthony Akiwumi rose to interrupt.
Justice Roger Chapple then said he should have asked if there was any dispute that the packages contained drugs.
Mr. Akiwumi, who represents Mr. Grant, replied, “For my part, yes, there is. The Crown is put to proof.”
When Mr. Moran had opened the prosecution’s case the previous day, he explained that “several packages” had been stolen by force or threat of force against the guard. Those packages were never recovered. One package was left behind, however. It was analyzed and shown to contain about one kilo of cocaine.
Mr. Scotchman said he took a picture of what was under the chair and jurors were given a copy of that picture. It appears to show several packages within a bag that is falling apart.
The witness said he waited with the security guard for police to show up. Several resort staff members came, looked and left. He named four.
While he and the guard were waiting, a masked man approached with a machete and spoke in patois, indicating that the bag was his. He took the bag and ran back toward the car park. Mr. Scotchman said the guard followed the masked man and he remained with the one package.
He described the robber as wearing shades, having his head covered with something white and the bottom part of his face covered. He agreed with Mr. Akiwumi that he did not see any facial features.
Asked about the size of the bag, he agreed it could have been 18 to 20 inches wide, that the length was more than the width, and it was about 17 inches high.
Mr. Scotchman said he did not count the number of packages.
Attorney Laurence Aiolfi asked questions on behalf of Fred McLaughlin, who has acknowledged driving his truck to the Morritt’s beach that afternoon. Mr. Scotchman said the way the truck had blocked the guard’s path as he was following the robber, so that he had to change direction and go around the truck.
The second witness was Mr. Kirchman, the general manager. He said he viewed CCTV clips from the incident.
He saw a man with covering on his face. Then he saw a man wearing what appeared to be the same clothing as the robber but without the face covering. He said he recognized the man as “Marvin,” but did not know his last name. One of the details that helped his recognition was the man’s goatee. (Mr. Grant is clean-shaven.)
Mr. Kirchman said he was “Facebook friends” with Marvin and had a photo of him on his phone. Jurors were given copies of that photo. It was agreed that the photo was from about five years ago.
The next witnesses scheduled to be called were police officers who responded to the scene.
The trial continues.