BELMOPAN, Fri. Sept. 1, 2017–Former government employee, Ischelle Tablada, who was charged with abetment to commit robbery in connection with a robbery last July at the Income Tax Department in Belmopan that netted the robbers almost $29,000, was acquitted of the charge today in the Belmopan Magistrate’s Court after a caution statement that she had given to police failed to meet legal muster.
Tablada, 34, was charged along with Richard Hyde, Dean Brooks, Jr. and David Cruz, who are still facing the robbery charge.
Tablada’s attorneys, Ellis Arnold, SC, and Leroy Banner, were able to convince Belmopan Magistrate Ladonna John that the caution statement that Tablada gave to police was not given voluntarily, but was given under duress, and as such, was not admissible in the prosecution’s case against her.
With her caution statement not admissible, the prosecution’s case against Tablada fizzled and Magistrate John acquitted her of the charge.
Police allegedly had threatened to charge Tablada’s mother if she did not give them the statement, under caution.
The getaway car that was used in the July 15, 2016 robbery is registered in the name of Ischelle Tablada’s mother, and the cops allegedly told her that if she did not give them the statement, they would charge her mother. She complied and gave them the caution statement.
After a voir dire that was argued two weeks ago, Magistrate John ruled today that the statement was inadmissible and acquitted Tablada of abetment to commit robbery.
Belmopan police moved in and arrested the suspected robbers five days after the men stormed into the Income Tax Department, tied up the staff, stole a policeman’s gun and made off with the cash.
The men were captured in San Ignacio with a large amount of cash, believed to be the proceeds from the robbery.
Police were able to crack the case by using surveillance video footage; and with help from the community, they were able to zero in on the getaway vehicle that was used in the robbery.