Four years after four armed masked men invaded, beat and robbed the Patel family at their home in Belmont, St Georges, judgment in the matter has been delivered.
After deliberating for just over two hours on Wednesday, four weeks after trial in the matter started at the number one Supreme Court, a nine-member jury panel found the accused man Aldin “Ossie” Phillip guilty by majority verdict on two counts, Robbery with Violence and Possession of a Firearm.
Wednesday’s verdict brought closure to the matter, Phillip being the lone accused who embarked on a trial having pleaded not guilty to both charges. His co-accused Daniel Bonaparte and Isa Charles had already pleaded guilty and are serving fifteen years prison sentences, while the fourth robber threw in the towel and became the main witness for the prosecution.
The incident dated back to 22nd December 2015 when four men embarked on a mission to rob the Indian businessman. Armed with guns the men entered the Patels’ home, held the occupants of the house under gunpoint and demanded cash. According to the prosecution’s case, after injuring the head of the home, over fifteen thousand dollars in cash was handed over to the robbers who then made their escape.
According to the evidence, left with a video of inconclusive visual images on which to hold anyone accountable, the police’s case was left hanging until one of the robbers decided to spill the beans accepting a deal to become a witness for the state against his partners in crime.
During the trial, the defense’s case led by defense counsel Anselm Clouden centered on mistaken identification, his client claiming that he was never part of a deal to rob the Patels. Much was said about the state’s main witness Sylvan Thomas, whom the defense dubbed a man of questionable character, having spent years in prison in the United States. They also contended that Thomas was the man who undertook the operation to rob the Patels.
The prosecution on the other hand, led by Senior Crown Counsel Howard Pinnock, contended that Phillip was the mastermind in the entire operation. Their position was supported by most of the state’s witnesses who placed Phillip at the scene of the crime.
At the end of the trial however, the jury agreed with the prosecution’s line of argument and found Phillip guilty.
Addressing members of the media shortly after Wednesday’s verdict, defense lawyer Clouden said he accepted the verdict of the jury, however, he admitted that the case was a difficult one and he did his very best to get a majority verdict.
Clouden said while the case left many unanswered question he would have to abide by the decision of the court, and await instructions from his client in determining his next move.
One of victim in the matter also spoke to the media and according to him, despite the fact that justice in the matter took four years he is happy that it has finally arrived and he is delighted that justice was served.
The jury having completed their task, the matter is now in the hands of Senior High Court Judge Paula Gilford for sentencing, and the date set is July 9th.
Phillip faces a maximum thirty years on the charge of robbery and fifteen years on the charge of possession of a firearm.
Where Phillip spends the next forty-five years of his life therefore rest with judge Gilford.