Gas station robber gets sentence cut on appeal
(CNS): Norval Barrett who was sentenced to twelve years in prison from an armed robbery at a George Town gas station has had his sentenced reduce to nine years by the Cayman Islands Court of appeal. The legal panel cut the term by three years as they said they did not think the judge had given enough weight to mitigating circumstances such as the fact that there was no violence used, it happened quickly and the robber escaped with only a small amount of money. However, the senior judges denied Barrett’s appeal against his conviction as they did not agree that Justice Charles Quin had misdirected the jury regarding the details of an identification parade where the robber had been picked out by witnesses.
Barrett, who was an illegal immigrant from Jamaica, was jailed when a jury found him guilty of a late night gas station robbery at the ESSO station on Shedden Road in 2010. Armed with what appeared to be a hand gun he threatened to shoot the cashier in the face unless she emptied the till. The robber escaped with only $454 in cash after the stick-up which occurred around 10:30 at night.
The trial judge described the crime as a serious offence and said he could find few mitigating factors as Barrett had planned the robbery, shown no remorse, threated to kill staff and undertaken his crime at night, putting staff at the gas station in extreme fear.
Wearing a dark cap and glasses to disguise his appearance when he held up the gas station, Barrett was caught on CCTV and by sheer coincidence was arrested after the investigating officer spotted and recognized him at the George Town hospital when he was visiting on an unrelated matter a few days later.
As he handed down the twelve year sentence for the robbery along with a further six years for the possession of an imitation weapon to run concurrently, Quin had stated that people contemplating committing such crimes must understand that if they are apprehended and convicted they will receive lengthy terms of imprisonment.
The court of appeal however, decided that the term was too lengthy and set aside the sentenced and imposed one of nine years. The three judges did not however touch the six years Barrett received for possession of an imitation firearm.
Nor did the judgesentertain the appeal against the conviction. Although they acknowledged that the identification parade had not followed the police rules for such procedures as Barrett had accepted the ID parade as being fair and was with his lawyer when it happened they didn't accept that the judge had misdirected the jury when he spoke to them about the ID by the two witnesses at the gas station.
The appeal court found that Justice Quin had pointed out to the jury not that the ID was done correctly but that Barrett had not questioned the process either at the time or during trial and the grounds were not sufficient to overturn the conviction.
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