Photo Credit: Melissa Edwards/BVI Platinum News
Matthew Hazel has been found guilty of the brazen attempted robbery at CIBC First Caribbean Bank, and attempted murder of an off-duty police officer. The unanimous verdict came this afternoon, March 31.
Following the trial, the jury found Hazel, 25, a native of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and a Belonger, guilty of attempted murder, attempted robbery, unlawful possession of a firearm and unlawful possession of ammunition.
The young man will be sentenced on April 24 by Justice Nicola Byer.
It was the crown’s case that just after 12:00 am February 16, 2015, Hazel was the masked assailant in the foiled robbery outside the bank, when Sergeant Dorville Carty was about to deposit $28,342.08 for OneMart Supermarket.
According to the crown, during the incident, Hazel, who was at the time employed at the bank as a bank ambassador and receptionist, pounced on the police officer where gunshots were exchanged. The officer then pursued Hazel through the streets, where it is believed that he got shot more than once.
The assailant managed to elude the officer.
However, Hazel had claimed that he was a bystander who was caught in the crossfire.
He had indicated that he came into town and had stopped at the Noel Lloyd Positive Action Movement Park in an attempt to secure money from the ATM, and in search of a burger, when he was shot.
"I went to the ATM (CIBC) and I saw people running, so I started to run. I felt like a shot hit me; I got shot…I touched my head and felt like it was bleeding. I continued to run towards the highway," Hazel had said.
He was at the time driving a friend’s vehicle, a maroon/champagne coloured Suzuki Grand Vitara.
During the trial, through the testimony of investigating officer, Detective Jumo Shortte, the crown played a series of video footage of the incident. The vehicle of interest (Suzuki) was captured at different times on the night in question, and also Hazel, seen showing up at the hospital, apparently bleeding profusely and in pain.
Senior Crown Counsel Leslie Ann Faulkner prosecuted the case and Attorney-At-Law, Mrs. Valerie Stephens-Gordon was Hazel’s lawyer.