After nearly four years on remand awaiting trial on charges of armed robbery and possession of a firearm, judgment was finally handed down last Friday at the Number One Supreme Court, to accused Aldin “Ossie” Phillip landing him thirty-five years behind bars.
Senior High court Judge Paula Gilford after entertaining a plea in mitigation from defence lawyer Anselm Clouden, the accused, Phillip, was sentenced to 25 years and five months in prison on the charge of robbery with violence plus nine years and five months on the charge of possession of a firearm. Both charges are to run concurrently, it, therefore, means that Phillip would spend twenty years in prison.
Phillip was one of four masked men who entered and robbed the home of an Indian businessman who was at the time residing in the village of Belmont in St George’s in December of 2015.
According to the evidence, the occupants of the home were beaten while the robbers made off with just over sixteen thousand dollars.
Shortly after the incident, one of the robbers Sylvan Thomas threw in the towel giving information to the police that led to the arrest of the other three men involved in the robbery.
Prior to the commencement of the trial two of the three men Daniel Bonaparte and Isa Charles accepted responsibility for their action, pleading guilty to the charges laid against them, both men were sentenced to fifteen years in prison.
Aldin Phillip, on the other hand, pleaded not guilty and embarked on a trial that lasted just over four weeks. The main thrust of Phillip’s defence was based on mistaken identity claiming that surveillance footage used to identify the robbers did not him identify and that he was not part of any operation to rob the Belmont businessman. The prosecution contended that Phillip masterminded the operation, handed out the guns for the mission, and was a lead member. At the end of the trial however, Phillip was found guilty on both charges levelled against him.
In making a plea in mitigation on his client’s behalf, Clouden asked the court not to hold against Phillip the fact that he chose to embark on a trial as he is entitled so to do under the constitution. Additionally, Clouden implored on the court to be consistent in handing down sentence having already sentenced two men who pleaded guilty for the same offence to fifteen years.
Nevertheless, in her judgment read out in court Judge Gilford reminded Phillip that armed robbery is a serious crime and the court would not take lightly, such crimes and more so the use of guns in the execution of those crimes.
Judge Gilford said while the court has a responsibility to protect society from such actions, it is concerned with the ease at which these weapons find their way into the hands of offenders. It is only fitting she added that the sentence imposed coincides with society’s condemnation of such behaviour.
In arriving at the correct sentence on a charge that carries a maximum of thirty years in prison, the judge said she took into consideration Phillip’s past record, his propensity to commit serious offences, the role played in the execution of the crime being the mastermind in a premeditated offence and the weapon used.
After looking at all variables, including a reduction for time spent on remand, Phillip was sentenced to an overall thirty-five years behind bars. Twenty-five years and five months to run concurrently with an additional nine years and fine months.
The judge urged Phillip to use his time in prison wisely by availing himself of all available opportunity for reform at the prison.