24 years for shooting police
A MAN who shot two policemen and robbed employees of a travel agency of cash and jewelry more than seven years ago, lost his appeal yesterday and was ordered to start a 24-year sentence right away.
Benjamin De Freitas, of Plaisance Road East Dry River, who had been in jail for the past four years awaiting his appeal, was also ordered to receive 20 strokes with the birch.
De Freitas was convicted before Justice Lennox Deyalsingh in the Port-of-Spain First Assize Court on February 7, 1992.
He was charged with robbing four employees of Lee Pow’s Travel Service, corner Frederick and Oxford Streets, Port-of- Spain, on August 23, 1988; shooting Inspector Errol Denoon and Cpl Garth Nelson; possession of arms and ammunition and possession of arms and ammunition to endanger lives.
When the appeal was called before Justices Sat Sharma, Mustapha Ibrahim and Jean Permanand yesterday, Martin George, attorney for De Freitas, said he had looked at the judge’s summing up and could find no ground upon which to appeal.
The court dismissed the appeal and affirmed the sentence. Deputy Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) Rangee Dolsingh appeared for the State.
The court heard that shortly before midday on August 23, 1988, three men, including the appellant, all armed with guns, entered the travel agency and held up the manager Andre Lee Kim and other employees.
Denoon, Nelson and Cpl Ross, answered a wireless message about the robbery at Lee Pow’s and responded.
They were in time to see the three robbers Ieaving the agency. Denoon arrested De Freitas. Lee Kim ran out of the travel agency and started too kick and cuff De Freitas. He told Denoon, “this man just robbed us.”
Denoon searched De Freitas and found a pistol in his pants waist. As the officer was putting the appellant into the police car De Freitas struggled with Denoon and took away his service revolver.
Nelson ran to Denoon’s assistance. But De Freitas turned the gun on the two policemen and fired. Nelson was shot in the abdomen, while Denoon received two shots to the chest. Do Freitas escaped the scene.
Denoon and Nelson were taken to the Port- of-Spain General Hospital where they underwent emergency surgery. De Freitas was eventually arrested and subsequently pointed out on several identification parades.
He was charged with ten offences on all of which he was convicted.