Attorneys have wrapped up their arguments in the trial of three men charged in connection with a robbery on the beach at Morritt’s Resort on Christmas Eve last year, and Justice Roger Chapple is set to summarize the evidence to the jury on Tuesday morning.
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.
The trial has seen a number of starts and stops since the Crown opened its case on Oct. 9.
Rather than going over the evidence, “More than half of trial has been spent arguing matters or law,” Justice Chapple observed last Wednesday, referencing a number of motions and technical legal arguments made between the Crown and the defense.
According to Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran, 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 with a machete 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.
The Crown’s evidence 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.
The defense has strongly disputed the evidence presented against the three men.
For example, defense attorney Laurence Aiolfi, who is representing Fred McLaughlin, referenced CCTV footage that allegedly shows Mr. Grant taking the packages from the security guard and fleeing.
Mr. Aiolfi said that the security guard did not put up any resistance or attempt to pursue Mr. Grant, questioning why that was. He said the security guard is a former member of the Jamaican military and has experience in counter-terrorism, which would suggest that he should not have been afraid to pursue one man with a machete.
“We don’t want to criticize him, but you look at everything else, is that not another odd feature that he doesn’t want to struggle or chase the thief?” Mr. Aiolfi said. “If the security guard is in on it, then there is no robbery and you don’t need to consider count one.”
Crister Brady, who is representing Al McLaughlin, also said the Crown’s telephone records do not prove any criminality.
“Simply because calls were made does not mean there was a robbery behind it,” he said.