John Waller secured the unanimous acquittal of a defendant who faced trial for the armed robbery of a dry cleaners in Acton. It had been alleged that he had entered the commercial premises with a hand-held angle grinder and threatened to cut off the proprietors hands if he did not open the till. He then punched him in the face several times before making off with a substantial amount of cash, a Rolex watch and a laptop. The suspect was seen scoping out the dry cleaners for several minutes before entering – this was all caught on CCTV.
The defendant was arrested 70 minutes later within a mile of the dry cleaners riding a bike that the Crown said was the same colour and model as that seen on the CCTV. The defendant was also found to be carrying a bag which contained both the angle grinder and distinctive clothing that the Crown said could be seen on the CCTV. The defendant had a significant criminal history which adduced before the jury.
The defendant denied that he was the person on the CCTV and advanced that he had lent the angle grinder to an unknown male who returned it to him in a bag, unbeknownst to him with the clothing, just after the robbery. John was able to persuade the jury that there was significant doubt by challenging the accounts of the Crowns witnesses.
The Jury retired at the beginning of the lunch adjournment and returned immediately after with a unanimous not guilty. Given his antecedent history if convicted the defendant faced a significant period of imprisonment.
John was instructed by Robert Layton & Co.