Berry acquitted of being getaway driver

POSTED: 04/5/12 1:01 PM

St. Maarten – Judge Monique Keppels ordered the release of 27-year-old Bryan Davidson Berry on Wednesday because she could not find sufficient evidence in the case file to convict him. His lawyer Shaira Bommel had successfully argued that many of the statements that had been made did not match and because her client was busy working at the moment of the robbery.

The robbery took place on June 14, 2010 near St. Maarten Port Authority. Berry was accused of driving the getaway car while four others robbed an armored money transport vehicle. Once they’d committed the robbery, the thieves abandoned the getaway car near the Vineyard Building. Several of the other participants in the robbery identified Berry as one of the participants and there is evidence that Berry had sustained contact with at least one of the co-defendants (Rombley) and that there was also contact on the day of the robbery.

“All I did was tint a car for Rombley and then I hear I am wanted by the police for armed robbery. I know him because we live in the same district but we ain’t friend, friend,” Berry said.

When Keppels confronted the defendant with the fact that he was in Rombley’s contact list under the name Tony, Berry said that was a reference to either his father or brother as they have the nickname Tony. This is where the judge also pointed out that several of the other co-defendants had identified as Tony when they were shown his picture. Bommel would later reject that, based on testimony in an appeal case by one of the co-defendants who said he didn’t know anyone named Tony and nobody named Tony was in the car on the day of the robbery.

“My client says I have nothing to do with it and only my brother and father are named Tony. My client was working in St. Peters at the time of the robbery and there can be no trust in the statements that my client was there, especially since Manning has consistently changed his statement about who was there and not there. I don’t see the telephone contact information as relevant because my client lives in the same neighborhood but he says he only tinted the car. I also cannot find proof in the file that the co-defendants were shown a picture of my client,” Bommel said.

Berry also rejected that fact during questioning.

“There was a gentleman who came with Rombley when I tinted his car and I don’t know if he is the one who is accusing me,” Berry said.

Prosecutor Gonda van der Wulp said, “The question is whether you really are the Tony that was in the car that day. I believe that you are based on the information in the file and the telephone contact. There is also the connection of the both of you (Berry and Rombley) living in the same street and the same neighborhood.”

Later she’d add, “The handling of the weapon is a bit unclear. There is also a statement that Tony did not have a weapon so I will like an acquittal on that charge.”

Van der Wulp had demanded 18 months in prison as a sentence, but Judge Keppels decided to acquit Berry because, “there are all sorts of allegations, but there is insufficient evidence. You are therefore acquitted and your detention should be terminated.”

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