By LAMECH JOHNSON
Tribune Staff Reporter
A CANADIAN woman recalled her “traumatic experience” of lying in dirt and being robbed at gun point with other tourists and her tour guide in a brazen daylight robbery during an eco-tour of Earth Village.
Elizabeth McDonald of Toronto, Canada, told a jury how her stop-over visit to Nassau as a cruise passenger ended with her and other tourists being ordered by gunmen to lie in the dirt to await their turn to be robbed after watching their female tour guide gun butted to the ground.
As Ms McDonald recalled the “traumatic experience”, in which she said knew the guns the two robbers held were real after two shots went off, the men accused of the crime sat in the prisoner’s dock behind their respective attorneys listening to her evidence.
Frederick Green, 30, of Carmichael Road and Dekota Von Lockhart, 24, of Churchill Avenue face six counts of armed robbery and three counts of receiving.
It is claimed that they, on November 20, 2009 while armed with a firearm, robbed Ms McDonald, Edena Farah, Robert Young, Paul Coladonato, Tung Sii Yun and Ronnie Chiang Chew Bang of cash, Apple iPhones, a Macbook, credit cards and various personal items.
It is further claimed that they received items belonging to Mr Coladonato and Mr Chew Bang.
On the afternoon in question, passengers from the Disney and Royal Caribbean Cruiselines were part of two separate groups touring the Bahamas Association for Social Health’s (BASH) Earth Village when they were attacked by two men on the track road of what used to be the Perpall Tract well field area.
Green, also known as Frederick Neely, and Lockhart deny the nine charges against them.
Green is represented by Dorsee McPhee while Lockhart is defended by Roger Gomez II.
In yesterday’s opening of the trial, prosecutor Vernal Collie addressed the jury before calling the Canadian to the stand as the Crown’s first witness.
“Do you recall the 20th November 2009?” Mr Collie asked the witness.
“Yes I do, clearly,” Ms McDonald said.
“What do you recall about that day?” the prosecutor asked.
Ms McDonald said she was on the Royal Caribbean Cruiseline that was passing through Nassau as its first port stop in the transatlantic journey from Europe.
“I had signed up with a group of about eight other persons for a Segue Tour. I signed up on the ship and we were all taken in a van to the nature park,” the witness said.
“The first thing that happened there is we were issued helmets and protective gear and spent an hour learning to operate the segues and to manoeuvre around the curves.”
“We followed paths and the tour guide in a single file. Then we made a stop to take pictures, chat with each other. Then Edena (tour guide) suggested we continue with the tour, which we did for another half hour.”
Ms McDonald said it was during this time that she noticed the segues ahead of her, as she was near the end of the group, slow down.
“I glanced to my left and there were two men wielding rifle like guns,” she said.
She recalled the men ordering them to “stop and get off the segues, get on the ground and to hand over all valuables.”
She said the men were dressed in black nylon jackets with hoods. “The hoods were up,” she added.
Mr Collie asked her to continue her tale and she said that she and others were crouched on the ground and she noticed them moving closer to her as they robbed each person ahead of her.
“In the process of trying to take out my things, I heard the guns go off twice. I knew then that the guns were real when I heard the shots,” she said.
She said she also feared what they were doing to the tour guide after hearing of the exchange and being pushed in the ditch after threatening her with harm.
“When the man got to me, I was trying to take the wallet and things out of the pack that was on my waist. He just said to me ‘Give me the whole thing!’’ Ms McDonald said.
“In my wallet, there was $100 US, two credit cards, my health card from Canada and my driver’s licence. He simply took the whole wallet and threw the pack to the ground,” she said.
Ms McDonald told the court that she saw the robber with a black plastic bag. All the proceeds from the robberies were dumped inside it.
She said she and the others stayed on the ground for about four minutes until they were sure the robbers had left the area.
Mr Collie asked the witness if she could describe the assailants and she said that they were two males, “young, dark complexion, tall and slim but it would be impossible to tell their faces because they kept them obscured by the hood.”
In cross-examination, Mr Gomez II asked her if she saw both men with firearms.
“That was my recollection, yes. It was a traumatic experience for me,” she answered.
“Did you see anyone with a cutlass?” the attorney asked.
“Not that I saw,” Ms McDonald answered.
“When you said the men were of dark complexion, would you say that it is Mr Collie’s complexion?” Mr Gomez II asked.
“Darker than that,” the witness answered.
Mr McPhee had no questions for this witness. The trial resumes today before Justice Roy Jones.