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Community service for robbery look-out

By Nikita Braxton-Benjamin

JASON MOHAMMED, the man who had the job of whistling to alert car thieves while they stole his neighbour's van, was on Tuesday ordered to perform the maximum 240 hours of community service for his role in the robbery.

"You sweat off your misdeed by physical labour under the supervision of a community service officer. They will decide the work," Magistrate Margaret Alert said as she explained her order.

Alert said she took into consideration that Mohammed was a teenager when he was charged with stealing the Nissan Frontier.

On the night of July 15, 2008, Rennie Looknath secured his vehicle, activated the alarm and went to bed. At around 7 a.m, he found that the $140,000 vehicle was missing.

Mohammed had denied knowledge of the incident, and claimed he had been beaten by the police to sign a three-page confession statement.

But Alert found the document was authentic and made reference to the part where he told the officers he was promised $5,000 to look out while the van was being taken.

In the statement, Mohammed said he was told to stand by the road and whistle should he hear anything.

Mohammed, who was 17 at the time, said he saw when the men pushed the van out the yard and onto the road and he then went home.

Alert found him guilty last week of the charge as laid by constable Narine Bisnath.

She said had the police wanted to frame Mohammed, they could have said he was the main perpetrator rather than the look-out man.

Mohammed, 22, of La Romaine was represented by attorney Ainsley Lucky, who said his client had not received much formal education, was at the time at a vulnerable age, and had been influenced by his peers.

"He fell prey to the lure of financial benefit," Lucky said.

Alert sentenced Mohammed, an air condition technician, to community service. Should this go undone, Mohammed will return to court to be jailed for 12 months with hard labour.

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