Published On: Thu, Mar 30th, 2017

After conviction for armed robbery: Mother stands up for her son

GREAT BAY – “I know my son. If you told me he got into an argument with the police I would believe you. If you told me he got into a fight I would believe you. But my son would never rob a supermarket,” the distraught mother of Edwin Eventon Anselmo Bruney told this newspaper yesterday.

The Common Court of Justice sentenced 23-year-old Bruney last week to 48 months of imprisonment for the January 5, 2016 armed robbery at the Dessam Supermarket in St. Peters, for the possession of a pellet gun and for the ill-treatment of two of his ex-girlfriends. Of the sentence, 12 months are conditional.

The court ordered the arrest of the defendant at the sentencing hearing on Thursday. On Friday, Bruney, son of a police officer, reported to the authorities and he is now detained in Pointe Blanche. But his mother remains convinced of his innocence.

She says that she was on the phone with her son at the time of the robbery. She also points to the distance between the place where the bicycle was reportedly stolen and the supermarket.

According to the prosecution, Bruney stole a bicycle that he used to leave the scene of the robbery. When police officers searched the area, they did not only find the bicycle, but also a Boston Red Sox baseball cap.

The baseball cap contained Bruney’s DNA, but the defendant told the court that it had been stolen already two years ago after someone broke into his rental car at Mullet Bay; his girlfriend confirmed this.

According to the mother, police also found a backpack and a white and a dark shirt. She wonders now why only the baseball cap was sent to the NFI for DNA-testing and the other items not.

Video footage from the robbery shows a man dressed in a dark shirt and blue jeans, but then Bruney was wearing a white shirt and black trousers. He left in early February for the Netherlands and came back to the island in late March.

The Court in First Instance acquitted Bruney, saying that there were “strong indications” against the defendant but not enough for a conviction.

The Appeals Court arrived at a different conclusion. It writes in its verdict that there are “many similarities” between the cap the robber wore and the cap that contains Bruney’s DNA.

The court did not believe Bruney’s story that the cap had been stolen two years earlier. In the complaint Bruney filed about the theft, the cap is not listed as one of the stolen items.

His mother maintains though that there are differences between the two caps. She also pointed to the difference in clothing between the robber and her son.

But the court, after studying the video footage of the robbery, concluded that the robber was wearing a dark shirt under his white shirt and considers it plausible that Bruney threw away the dark shirt after the robbery.

Police officers who investigated the case have stated that they recognized the robber as the son of one of their colleagues. There is however a statement to the contrary from the cashier at the supermarket. Bruney shopped there and so did his mother – she lives nearby and was there minutes after the robbery.

Yet the cashier told the police that she had been held up by “an unknown person.”

Bruney’s mother furthermore notes that it does not make sense for her son to drive away on a bicycle since he was driving a small jeep. “To put that bicycle in the jeep, he would have had to take it apart. There was not time to do that,” she said.

While Bruney is now serving time in Pointe Blanche, his mom and his attorney Safira Ibrahim are not giving up the fight. The attorney went into cassation at the Supreme Court.