A jury found Marvin Gregory Grant guilty of robbery, but not guilty of conspiracy to supply controlled drugs in connection with a robbery on the beach at Morritt’s Resort on Christmas Eve.
The two other defendants in the trial, Fred Allon McLaughlin and Al Elford McLaughlin, were found not guilty of both charges.
The unanimous verdicts were made after a nearly five-hour jury deliberation that came at the end of a roughly four-week trial – one that saw numerous stops and starts as attorneys argued over motions and other technical legal matters.
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, wearing a mask, 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.
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 was that this defendant organized the robbery by telephone after receiving the call from his wife.
Fred McLaughlin was at Morritt’s when the robbery took place, and used his red pickup truck to block the security guard and assist Mr. Grant in his escape, according to the Crown.
However, authorities never recovered the packages allegedly stolen by Mr. Grant.
Fred McLaughlin’s attorney, Laurence Aiolfi, also disputed the allegation that his client used his truck to help Mr. Grant escape. Instead of blocking the security guard, Fred McLaughlin was trying to move his truck and leave the scene once he saw the commotion that was going on, his attorney suggested.
Mr. Aiolfi further said that the security guard who was allegedly robbed 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 when making his closing arguments last week. “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 represented Al McLaughlin, also said the Crown’s telephone records do not prove any criminality.
“Simply because calls were made does not mean there is a robbery behind it,” he said during his closing arguments.
After the jury returned with their unanimous verdicts on Tuesday around 4 p.m., the McLaughlins were discharged. A sentencing hearing is scheduled to take place on Friday for Mr. Grant, who remains in custody.