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‘Lookout’ man found guilty of stealing van
A La Romaine man who police said confessed to being the lookout man in the theft of a $140,000 pick-up is to be sentenced on Tuesday. Jason Mohammed, 23, claimed the police beat and tricked him into signing a three-page statement confessing his role in the crime.
However, after hearing evidence over two weeks, San Fernando Fourth Court Magistrate Margaret Alert yesterday found Mohammed guilty of stealing the van. It belonged to Rennie Looknath and was stolen from his yard at Merlie Street, La Romaine, on the morning of July 15, 2008. Mohammed was charged by PC Narine Bisnath.
In the confession statement, Mohammed said Looknath’s neighbour promised to pay him $5,000 to be the lookout man while the neighbour and some other men stole the van. Mohammed said he took the job and was told to whistle if he heard anything.
According to the statement, Mohammed said he was never paid. In his evidence, however, Mohammed claimed the police beat him and promised to let him go if he signed the statement. He said he played no part in the crime. PC Bisnath, Cpl Inchan Teeluck and Looknath were the prosecution witnesses.
In handing down her decision, the magistrate said the format of the interview notes suggested the police did not fabricate the story. “If it was a set-up, why would the police delegate him (Mohammed) the role of watchman and not set him up as the principal offender? It makes no sense.”
The magistrate said a person who is the lookout man is just as culpable as the principal offender and the maximum sentence for the offence is ten years. She adjourned the matter to Tuesday for a mitigation plea and sentencing.
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