Five men, including two bank employees and two policemen, were today slapped with a slew of attempted robbery and gun and ammunition possession charges in the July 4th attempted robbery at Republic Bank, on Water Street.
The men, Jamal Haynes, Keron Saunders, Gladston George, Anfernee Blackman and Shawn Grimmond made their way into the Georgetown Magistrate’s Court in handcuffs under police escort where they appeared before Chief Magistrate Ann Mclennan.
During the lengthy bail hearing, the five men were jointly charged with attempted robbery under arms.
Haynes, who was employed at Republic Bank, pleaded guilty to the attempted robbery charges while the other four accused pleaded not guilty.
Haynes, who limped his way into the Courtroom having sustained gunshot injuries during the robbery, was sentenced to two years in prison on the attempted robbery charge while the other four young men were remanded to prison until August 11th.
Haynes stood separately and was slapped with five other charges, namely discharging a loaded firearm with intent to cause injury and bodily harm, robbery committed on Ryan Myers of his vehicle, a cell phone and cash totaling $2.9 million, possession of 9mm ammunition, possession of 9mm firearm without being a licensed firearm holder and holding a bank employee hostage.
He pleaded not guilty to the charges of discharging a loaded firearm and the robbery committed on Ryan Myers and was remanded for same.
However, he entered guilty pleas on the other three charges and was fined a total of $280,000 and sentenced to two additional four year jail terms for the possession of firearm and ammunition charges.
He will also have to pay a $100,000 fine on the third charge and will serve an additional six months in prison. His two-year sentence on the attempted armed robbery charge will run consecutively and will see him spending a total of six years in prison.
The Chief Magistrate told Haynes that he was not given the maximum sentence for the offenses since he entered a guilty plea.
Haynes in his explanation to the Court said that he did not know the other co accused, except Saunders.
He also identified his best friend, Elton Wray, who was killed during the attempted robbery, as the mastermind of the heist.
“I did not plan the robbery. My friend who is now deceased had a lot of information on the bank. I thought we were going to rob somebody who had a lot of money in the ATM. It wasn’t until we went to the ATM that I became aware that we were going to rob the night safe,” he related.
According to the Police Prosecutor, Haynes helped to plan the robbery and was expected to identify a fellow bank employee to the others who would have had the bag of cash deposits made over the weekend.
The Prosecution claimed that Police Constable Blackman supplied the guns that were used, Rural Constable George was tipped to drive the getaway car and Bank Employee Grimmond was the inside man who provided information to the others on the outside.
The Prosecutor claimed Haynes had implicated the two policemen and his fellow bank employee but that was contradicted by Haynes who said it was false. “I do not know who were the other persons that my now deceased friend Mr. Wray included in the robbery,” he said.
The other co-accused Keron Saunders, faced separate charges of being in possession of 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition and one Taurus 9mm pistol.
He pleaded not guilty to those charges and claimed that he was acting under the influence of Wray and only learnt of the plan to rob the bank minutes before it occurred.
Saunders claimed that he was in the vehicle when a gun was pointed at him, forcing him to go along with the plan.
(by Kurt Campbell)