After spending seven months behind bars, a young woman accused of trying to hold up two businesses with a knife has been found not guilty on all charges.
The verdict was handed down today in provincial court in St. John’s in the case of Alexandra Faye Gough-Hollahan.
The 18-year-old was arrested in connection with two attempted armed robberies that happened on the same day, Dec. 10, 2013.
She has been suspected of trying to hold up Marie’s Mini Mart in Paradise, near Octagon Pond, and the Esso gas station on Highland Drive, at Torbay Road.
She pleaded not guilty to two counts each of attempted robbery and having a weapon dangerous to the public.
During the trial last month, several witnesses — including counsellors and a social worker who had dealt with Gough-Hollahan in the past — testified that they recognized the woman in the stores’ video surveillance as being her by the similar movements and idiosyncrasies.
However, Judge Lori Marshall said identity was an issue as the distinctive features weren’t unique enough to positively say it was Gough-Hollahan in the videos, which captured fleeting, distorted glimpses of the woman. The judge also noted two of the witnesses had reviewed the video together, raising concerns they could have influenced each other.
The store clerks also admitted they could not say for certain it was Gough-Hollahan.
“I have reviewed it myself,” the judge said, “and even I am not able to identify her in the video.”
Gough-Hollahan was originally charged with a Dec. 5 armed robbery at Marie’s Mini Mart on Crosbie Road, but Crown prosecutor Glynne Faulkner withdrew that charge due to lack of identification evidence.