3 freed of 2017 attempted robbery on Republic Bank; one to lead defence

Almost four years after four men were charged with staging an attempted robbery at Republic Bank’s Water Street, Georgetown branch which left their alleged accomplice dead,  three of them were set free on Tuesday after the charge against them was dismissed.

Those freed are, ex-Police Constable, Anfernee Blackman, 24, of Laing Avenue, West Ruimveldt, Georgetown; former Republic Bank employee, Shawn Grimmond of Pike Street, Kitty, Georgetown; and ex-Rural Constable Gladstone George 27, of Princes Street, Lodge, Georgetown.

The men had all denied the charge which stated that on July 4, 2017, while being armed with guns, they attempted to rob Republic Bank’s Water Street, Georgetown branch.

On Tuesday, Senior Magistrate Leron Daly upheld no-case submissions made by their lawyers. In doing so, she found that a prima facie case was not established against the three of them. Accordingly, the charge against them was dismissed.

However, for one of the men, Keron Saunders, 27, of Burnham Boulevard, Mocha, East Bank Demerara (EBD), he was told he would have to lead his defence on July 14, 2021, after the magistrate found that the prosecution was able to establish sufficient evidence against him for the crime.

After they were initially charged, the four men were each released on $500,000 bail pending the hearing and determination of their trial at the Georgetown Magistrates’ Courts.

The attempted robbery left 25-year-old Agronomist, Elton Wray dead. Wray was killed during an exchange of gunfire between his alleged accomplices, police, and guards attached to the Professional Guard Service who were stationed at the bank.

According to reports, the men had planned on getting their hands on the night’s deposits, since it was a three-day weekend and companies would have deposited millions of dollars in cash into the bank.

When the matter was first called in 2017, the court heard that Jamal Haynes, a Republic Bank employee at the time, and Saunders implicated the others in the botched robbery and outlined the roles each of them played.

It was reported that Blackman supplied Haynes, Saunders, and Wray with the guns. Blackman transported the men to the location in his motor car. Haynes was said to have visited Grimmond’s home days before giving him a cellular phone to contact him and the others.

Haynes pleaded guilty to the charges of attempted robbery underarms, illegal firearm and ammunition possession, and unlawful restraining on his first court appearance back in 2017. He was sentenced to a total of six years’ imprisonment by Chief Magistrate Ann McLennan.