A 46-YEAR-OLD who robbed a bank in 1983 and then suffered a massive stroke in 1988 was found guilty yesterday of two counts of robbery. His lawyer asked that he not be sent to prison because “he is already paying for the rest of his life.”
Justice Melville Baird placed Kenrick Luke into police custody until Monday when he will pass sentence.
Luke, of Trou Macaque, Laventille, with his right arm in a sling, his right foot in a brace, and walking with a stick, was before Justice Baird in the Port- of-Spain Fourth Assize Court charged with robbing the Sangre Grande branch of the National Commercial Bank (NCB) on May 16, 1983.
According to the evidence, five men robbed the bank of TT$239,900; US$4,000; Can$250; EC$250; and TT$14,351. State attorneys Reynold Waldropt and Roger Gaspard prosecuted, while Martin George represented Luke.
The jury deliberated for one hour before arriving at the guilty verdict. In a plea of mitigation, attorney George said the bank robbery occurred 12 years ago, but the accused suffered a stroke in 1988 which still affects him.
George said his client was in constant need of medical treatment and that he must have his medication on a daily basis. He pointed out that the institutions in this country do their best to provide the services, but because of the volume, they cannot adequately deal and cope with persons who may need the specialised treatment.
George said Luke was treated at the Bath Israel Hospital in New York between 1988 to1991. Admitting that robbing a bank was a serious offence and should be dealt with by the court, George pointed out that sending Luke to jail would not serve the function and purpose which is normally designed to serve.
“Even if the accused is not incarcerated, he wouId be paying for the rest of his life,” George added.
The defence attorney asked that Luke should not receive a custodial sentence. He handed a copy of a letter from the Bath Israel Hospital to show that Luke was a patient there. But Justice Baird pointed out that the letter was a copy.
George told the court that the original had been lost. Justice Baird decided to sentence Luke on Monday.
The court heard that around 10.15 am on May 16, 1983, several men armed with guns entered the NCB Sangre Grande branch and staged a hold-up.
The men ordered the employees to go to the vault. The men packed the money in a bag and locked the staff members in an adjoining room.
After the bandits left the bank, the police were called in and Luke was subsequently arrested.