Guilty robber blames police for guilty plea
From the Courts
April 5, 2013

Guilty robber blames police for guilty plea

Despite pleading guilty to robbing a tourist, Cornelius Aberdeen blamed the police officer who arrested him.{{more}}

“The officer make me plead guilty to this. He make me plead guilty to this,” Aberdeen repeated after Magistrate Rechanne Browne-Matthias sentenced him to two years imprisonment for robbing Andreas Kristiansen, 22, a student of Denmark.

On Tuesday, at the Kingstown Magistrate’s Court, Aberdeen, a self-employed man of Long Wall, was charged with robbing Kristiansen on March 26, at the Grenadines Wharf, shortly after the visitor disembarked the vessel, Barracuda.

Aberdeen robbed Kristiansen of EC$750 and US$150. He also robbed him of an I-pad, digital camera, I-pod, and camera battery with a total value of $2,850.

Shortly after Kristiansen arrived on the mainland, Aberdeen approached him and asked if he had any place to stay, to which he said no.

Aberdeen then took the foreigner to Cane Garden and showed him an unfurnished apartment, which Kristiansen said he did not like and that he would not stay there.

Aberdeen then offered to take Kristiansen to another apartment and took him to Ratho Mill.

While walking in a secluded area in Ratho Mill, Aberdeen told Kristiansen “This is robbing time”.

Reading the facts, prosecutor Inspector Glenford Gregg told the court that Aberdeen placed his hand in his back pocket and acted like he was going to draw a weapon.

Gregg also said that Aberdeen had an accomplice during the robbery.

Kristiansen then told Aberdeen, “No violence”, but Aberdeen still punched the foreigner in his face before he was relieved of his belongings.

Kristiansen then made his way back to Kingstown and filed a report.

In court, Aberdeen said he alone did not commit the crime.

“I never plan to rob him. Is another defendant,” Aberdeen told the magistrate.

The court also heard that $231 was taken from Kristiansen and Aberdeen told police officers he had bought a pair of baby shoes with the money.

The pair of shoes was shown in court.

“I don’t care if you bought baby shoes or pampers with the money. When people come to Hairouna, this is not the welcome they should receive. I’ll make sure to put you where this won’t happen…,” Browne-Matthias said, as she passed sentence.

Upon hearing his sentence, Aberdeen picked a spot in the ceiling and stared at it for about 10 seconds before stepping down from the defendant’s box.

Prosecutor Gregg was of the view that “this act is an act of terrorism on our tourist industry.”

That other man who Aberdeen referred to as also being involved was Giovanni Ferrari, 30, a mechanic of Cane Garden.

Ferrari appeared at the Kingstown court on March 26 and was found guilty of theft of the same items.

When Ferrari first appeared in court on March 25, prosecutor Gregg told the court that Kristiansen would be returning to his homeland in a few days and had requested a speedy trial, to which the magistrate agreed.

At that time, Kristiansen told the court that he had just come from Union Island, after visiting Trinidad and Grenada. “I was looking for a place to stay in St Vincent and I met two men on the wharf and they told me they have a place and they took me to a place called Cane Garden…,” Kristiansen said.

He was then taken to Ratho Mill, where he was robbed.

In court, an unrepresented Ferrari told the court, “I don’t engage in robbing people, your worship. It is the other man who did it.”

Inspector Gregg then questioned Ferrari as to why he never told the police that bit of information and he replied “I was going to tell the police.”

Magistrate Browne-Matthias then scolded Ferrari for his act.

“You want to destroy what is left of our tourism. The young man went to other countries and had no problem, but as soon as he gets to St Vincent, you molest him.”

Inspector Gregg then suggested to the court that the matter be sent to the High Court for sentencing because of the nature of the matter.

The magistrate agreed.

Ferrari will be sentenced at the next practical sitting of the Criminal Assizes. (KW)