Armed Robber Must Serve Sentence As Appeal Denied


Tribune Staff Reporter


AN armed robber, who was captured by a hospital employee, has failed in his bid to have the Court of Appeal overturn his decade-long prison sentence.

The Court of Appeal unanimously dismissed Marco Oliver's appeal of his ten-year sentence for robbing Desirade Clarke in November 2016.

The only "success" Oliver had on appeal, was having his conviction and sentence for receiving quashed, as he could not be both the robber and the receiver.

According to the ruling, on November 11, 2016, Ms Clarke was leaving a store on Marathon Road. She had just placed her bag in her car and was about to get in when she was approached by Oliver, dressed in a white T-shirt and dark coloured pants and armed with a sharp object, which he held at her neck.

Oliver demanded she move over but she refused. He subsequently demanded the keys to her car. Ms Clarke dropped them on the floor of the car and as he moved to retrieve them she was able to run into the street and cry for help. As she did so, she saw Oliver drive off in her vehicle, in which she had left her bag containing her wallet.

In her haste to get away, Ms Clarke fell to the ground. She got up and waved down a passing motorist who let her to use their cell phone. That was when Ms Clarke realised that one of her fingers had been cut.

Meanwhile, sometime around 1.40pm on the same day, Sergeant 2392 Storr went to Penny Savings on Bank Lane in the area of Claridge Primary School. While there, he located Ms Clarke's vehicle which had crashed into the school's wall, damaging its front section. Sgt Storr subsequently arranged for the car to be towed to the Internal Security Section of the Central Detective Unit.

Some 10 minutes later, Elvin Richards, a Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH) employee, was on his way back to work. He had detoured on to the street in the back of the Mall at Marathon at the request of some of his coworkers to make a purchase for them from Bamboo Shack on Wulff Road.

When he arrived in the area of Claridge Road he noticed a man - Oliver, dressed in black pants and a white shirt - running. Oliver had a woman's purse in his hand. Mr Richards turned his vehicle around.

By the time Mr Richards encountered Oliver again about five minutes later, he was walking from a yard. When Oliver saw Mr Richards, he apparently thought the other man was a police officer, as he told him, "Officer, if you know what's good for you, you better carry your sissy …before you get shoot."

Apparently undeterred, Mr Richards instead accosted Oliver and eventually managed to subdue and hold him until the police arrived on the scene a short time later and took control of the situation.

Inspector Osbourne Davis, meanwhile, was on mobile patrol on in the Claridge Road area along with Woman Detective Constable 3747 Seymour. They were on the lookout for a male who had committed an offence earlier in the day. A short time later, Insp Davis and his partner went to a street - Clay Road - off Claridge Road, where they encountered Mr Richards who asked for their assistance. At that time, Mr Richards was struggling with Oliver on the ground. He also indicated that Oliver was basically breathing hard and sweating.

Oliver was consequently cautioned and searched. Insp Davis said a black, clutch-like purse was found in Oliver's back right pocket. He also said he saw a black handbag that was in Oliver's immediate vicinity.

Oliver was subsequently arrested and taken to the Wulff Road Police Station.

Ms Clarke, meanwhile, went to the Wulff Road Police Station at some point that same day and while there saw her purse on a desk. She was also able to identify it as her wallet containing her driver's licence. All of the items Ms Clarke identified as having been stolen from her were turned over to her by the police. When she had finished giving her statements to the police, she left to seek medical attention for her injury.

Ms Clarke ended up going to the Walk-in Clinic on Carmichael Road and met with Dr Susanna Campbell. The doctor said Ms Clarke had suffered a cut on her left thumb that was about 13 mm and required four stitches.

Sometime later, Ms Clarke identified her vehicle at the Internal Security compound where it had been towed after it had been discovered in a damaged condition.

Meanwhile, when interviewed about the armed robbery and causing harm to Ms Clarke by Corporal 2672 Rolle, Oliver denied he committed the offences. Nonetheless, Cpl Rolle later charged the appellant for the offences he faced at trial.

During the trial, Oliver tried to suggest to Ms Clarke that she had received the injury to her hand when she fell to the ground. She denied the suggestion; and said she had fallen on her knees and not her hands.

Inspector Wakita Taylor gave evidence of seeking to conduct an identification parade on November 13, 2016, which was dismissed after Oliver complained of it not being fair. Insp Taylor made another unsuccessful attempt to find persons of similar characteristics as the appellant. However, because of time constraints pertaining to how long Oliver was in custody, she directed Sergeant 96 McCartney to compile a 12-man photo gallery instead with a picture of Oliver.

Sgt McCartney compiled the photo gallery and after viewing it, Ms Clarke identified and initialed Oliver's photograph as the person who had robbed her on November 11, 2016.

On October 18, 2017, Oliver was unanimously found guilty of armed robbery, causing harm, and receiving. He was sentenced to 12 years imprisonment for armed robbery, and three years for causing harm, to run concurrently. He was sentenced to "time spent" for receiving.

However, his sentence was shortened to ten years and eight months from the date of his conviction to reflect the time he has spent on remand.

Oliver appealed his conviction and sentence on some 26 grounds. However, the only one that had any real merit was grounds seven, which asserted that the armed robbery and receiving verdicts were inconsistent because a person cannot be both the robber and the receiver simultaneously.

The appellate judges concurred, noting that such an assertion is "settled law to the extent it may be regarded as trite law".

Thus, the appellate judges said the jury should have been told that if they found Oliver guilty of armed robbery, they should convict him of that offence and find him not guilty of receiving, and vice versa. And in looking at the transcripts, the appellate judges said it was "clear" that the trial judge failed to provide the jury with any explanation on how they should have treated the two offences.

Ultimately, the appellate judges found that the two verdicts could not "stand together", and quashed both the conviction and sentence. However, they said as "no miscarriage of justice has occurred", the "justice of the case demands" that Oliver's conviction and sentence for armed robbery be affirmed.

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