Theft of EC$80K ‘box’ money is the first to be tried by judge only

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By Elesha George 

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History was made in the High Court yesterday when the first ever trial began without a jury present to render a verdict. 

Justice Ann-Marie Smith is the sole adjudicator in the case of larceny brought against Rohan Jarvis. The historic proceeding began at 9.30am and went well into the late afternoon.

Jarvis is accused of being a co-conspirator to the theft of EC$80,000 from a retired government employee who held a “box”, also called a sou-sou, sub or savings, for residents in Bolans. 

Based on testimony given in court on Wednesday, the man and his friend – Leon George – concocted a plan to break into the home of Gretlin Thomas and stole the money she had set aside for three boxes that she ran concurrently. 

Thomas, who was the first witness called to the stand, told the court that she was coming home from church at around 7.30pm on August 22 2018, when she received a call from her friend with information that someone may have taken the box money.

She quickly drove home where she found her bedroom door still locked. However, when she entered the room, one of the windows was open and the two cash pans where she stored the money were gone.

The woman recalled how distraught she was, recollecting to the court “what am I going to do, all the people money dem gone”.

The court heard that Thomas was holding monies on behalf of almost 200 people – a service she had been providing for nearly 20 years. 

On the night of the incident, the police found two cash pans that Thomas said belonged to her. They were however damaged and empty. The woman also claimed that her husband found loose change around the yard. 

The second witness, Kevin Toussaint, related what happened on the night when he met both Jarvis and George, who he said he has known all his life. 

He told the court that he was leaving the Bolans Supermarket when he saw Jarvis in a walkway, waiting on George. After a brief talk, he said Jarvis asked him for a ride home. Shortly after departing, the two spotted George who had his shirt wrapped in his hand. 

According to Toussaint, George entered the back seat of the car after being invited in by Jarvis.

He told the court that Jarvis asked George if he “got through”, to which George responded “yes” and then showed him the money in his shirt. 

Toussaint claimed that George admitted to taking the money from Thomas’ house.

“I told them to take it back because my three sisters throw box with her,” he remarked. But he said Jarvis insisted on keeping the money. 

Toussaint said he drove both men to Jarvis’ house, where they offered him $800 for his silence. He took the money and left, he said. 

During cross examination by Jarvis’ lawyer, Wendel Robinson, Toussaint told the court that although Jarvis did not threaten him when he handed him the money, he had always been scared of his peer because he “knows what kind of person he is”.

After an encounter with George’s sisters, Toussaint claimed to have cooperated with the police and gave them the money that had been offered to him. 

The matter was still ongoing up to news time.

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