Headline — 20 February 2016 — by Rowland A. Parks
Phillip Bowen, 22, sentenced to 7 years

BELIZE CITY, Wed. Feb. 17, 2016–After the prosecution closed its case against Phillip Bowen, 22, a Belize City clothes vendor, and Chief Magistrate Ann Marie Smith gave him the option of making a dock statement or swearing on the Bible and giving evidence in his defense, or just remaining silent, Bowen chose to remain silent. He was then found guilty of all the charges – one count of robbery and two counts of aggravated assault with a firearm against two police constables.

This morning after reviewing the evidence of his case, Smith sentenced Bowen to seven years in prison for the robbery conviction and two years for each count of aggravated assault. The sentences are to run concurrently, and therefore, Bowen, the father of one child, will only serve 7 years in prison.

In his very brief plea for mitigation, Bowen told the court, “I’d like to ask for leniency, as this is my first offence.”

“Leniency for what?” Smith asked the convicted man. “Did you have leniency for Mr. Holder that night?”

Bowen said in a low voice,” It was not me!”

“What, it wasn’t you?” Smith responded. “It was Shaggy?”

According to the evidence that was presented during the trial, on the night of June 20, 2015, Bowen put a gun to Harry Holder’s head and told him to “start this f——ing car.” He then drove away in Holder’s Nissan Altima.

As the car crossed over from the north side of the city to the south side, it was driven at a high, reckless speed, and that caught the attention of two policemen who were on motorcycle patrol on Central American Boulevard.

A high speed chase ensued with Bowen driving the stolen Altima and the two cops on motorcycle in hot pursuit. Eventually, Bowen lost control of the car and it ran into a drain.

Bowen allegedly then fired a shot at the two police constables, Simpson Ansen and Argazabad Sankey. Sankey was unarmed, but Ansen was armed, and he fired back at Bowen.

When police took possession of the car, they found a cellular phone inside with a picture of Bowen and his daughter.

After summing up the evidence, Smith told Bowen, “You, Mr. Bowen, are guilty of all the charges before this court.

When the court record was looked at, it turned out that Bowen was convicted in 2014 on a charge of possession of controlled drugs, and was fined $200, but he never paid the fine. He told the court that he had already spent time in prison for that conviction.

So why did you tell the court that this is your first conviction, Smith asked him.

Bowen did not reply and shortly after he was led away by the court orderly to begin serving his prison sentence.

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