Sitting in the prisoner’s enclosure with a striped towel held over his head, Devario Whitter, 29, pleaded not guilty to a charge of stealing 10 pairs of shoes and $720 cash from Tuff Shoes on Friday 24th August 2012.
Ordered by Senior Magistrate Archie Warner to remove the towel, Whitter did so and revealed what appeared to be facial injuries. In initially answering the Magistrate’s request for a plea, Whitter said: “I don’t remember, Your Honour. I woke up in hospital.”
With this answer, the Magistrate said that he was obliged to enter a plea of not guilty. Just prior to that exchange, Whitter had elected for the case to be heard in the Magistrate’s Court.
Prosecutor Carrington Mahoney told the Magistrate that the allegation was that around 7:00pm on Friday 24th August, the owner of Tuff Shoes had returned to the shop and, hearing noises inside the shop, he investigated.
He saw a man with a large black plastic bag and the owner asked what the man was doing. The Prosecutor said that the reply was “I’m robbing the place.”
The owner chased the man who ran out of the store. Police were called and later accosted a man on King Street. The man was arrested, the bag, the shoes, and some money were recovered. The man was taken to Hamilton Police Station where he was interviewed.
Whitter said that he still could not remember anything but asked if he could change his plea to guilty. The Magistrate demurred and set trial in November 2012. Whitter was remanded into custody until that date.
After the incident on Friday, a police statement said: “A few minutes after 7:30pm police responded to a report of a burglary that took place at a business on Court Street. Police were in the area and saw the suspect.
“A chase ensued and the suspect made his way to the corner of King and Dundonald Streets where he jumped on the roof of a nearby building. Police surrounded the building however the man jumped off the building resulting in the man falling on his face.”
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