Archive for August 17th, 2010

Daylight robbery in GT

| 17/08/2010 | 50 Comments

(CNS): Updated The small Tortuga liquor store on the corner of Boilers Road along the George Town Harbour front is the latest victim of a daylight robbery. Police have now confirmed that around 3.30 pm today, Tuesday 17 August, a man armed with what appeared to be a handgun entered the Tortuga liquor store at the junction of Boilers Road and South Church Street. The robber threatened the two female members of staff before grabbing one of them and demanding cash. He left the premises with an undisclosed sum of cash and was last seen on Boilers Road heading towards Walkers Road on foot. No shots were fired and no-one was injured in the incident.

 The suspect is described as being 5′ 9” in height dark complexion, medium built and spoke with a Jamaican / Caymanian accent. He was wearing a brown shirt, dark blue jeans, brown sunglasses and had a brown cap pulled low over his face.

Anyone who was in the area at the time of the robbery and witnessed the incident or the man leaving the scene is asked to call George Town CID on 949-4222 or the confidential Crime Stoppers number 800- TIPS. (8477)

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Murder conviction quashed

| 17/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Full update — The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal has overturned the conviction of William McLaughlin Martinez for the murder of Brian Rankine Carter and remitted the case back to the Grand Court for retrial. The court allowed the appeal on Tuesday citing a misdirection by the trial judge to the jury. The defence team had put forwardtwo grounds for appeal: one was that the judge had given the wrong direction when the jury came back after retiring with a question and the second concerned a machete which fell out of the police chain of evidence. The president of the appeal court, Sir John Chadwick, said the court was satisfied that the appeal should be allowed on the first count alone.

Although the three appeal court judges briefly announced their decision from the bench, the president said the reasons would be placed in writing.

During the morning’s argument leading defence counsel set out their argument, which centred on a question asked by the jury some 25 minutes after the judge had finished his directions and the jury had been sent to deliberate.

The crown’s case against Martinez had depended heavily on the witness testimony of Jason Hinds, who was present on the night of the murder, 20 July 2009. Hinds, who was later convicted of accessory after the fact, had accused Martinez of the crime, and although he admitted being at the scene, he denied being a willing accomplice.

When Justice Alex Henderson summed up the case for the jury before they were sent to deliberate, among the many directions he gave he said the crux of the case depended on the testimony of Hinds. If the jury believed Hinds and felt his story was supported by forensic evidence then they should find Martinez guilty, but if they did not think that Hinds was a credible witness or believed his account then they must find the defendant not guilty.

“The sole issue in this case is whether the crown has made you sure the narrative of Mr Hinds is true,” the judge had said in his original direction.

The jury, however, sent back questions to the court asking for assistance around twenty minutes after retiring. They asked that if they were to “discount” the evidence of Hinds, could they convict on forensic evidence alone.

After discussions with both crown and defence counsel the judge agreed that he would redirect the jury to his previous comments about the need for the jury to believe Hinds’ credibility and that it was on his evidence that they should make their decision.

However, when Justice Henderson made the direction he did not repeat the comments he had made earlier regarding the fact that it was on Hinds’ statement that they must convict or acquit but instead he told them that they must consider all of the evidence and referred to his earlier directions without spelling them out again, thus, the defence argued, confusing the jury and making the conviction unsafe.

In the defence argument, presented by Mark Tomassi, lead counsel from the UK, and local attorney Nicholas Dixie of Mourant, the lawyers argued that when the trial judge directed the jury in the first instance, that in order to convict Martinez they had to believe Hinds’ story, he was perfectly correct.

The basis for the appeal came because, in response to the jury’s question, the judge had not repeated his very important earlier direction that the verdict must be based on the jury’s belief or disbelief in Hinds. Instead, he had changed the direction and said they must consider all the evidence.
“It was a second rate direction, a lesser … a subordinate direction,” Tomassi argued, adding the judge had misdirected the jury, who, by the very question, were clearly troubled by the testimony of Hinds from the very start of their deliberations.
Solicitor General Cheryl Richards QC for the crown argued that the judge had not given a different direction but merely a summary of his earlier comments. She said the judge was effectively telling the jury that they must still consider only the testimony of Hinds as he had referred to this point so many times in his original direction. The jury could be in no doubt, she noted, that their belief in Hinds was pivotal to their decision.
She said the trial judge’s re-direction and answer to the jury’s question was not inconsistent with his earlier direction. Richards argued that the jury’s question was simply one of clarification of how they should identify the main issues for consideration and that the court could not speculate that the jury had already made adecision one way or another about Hinds’ credibility.
The crown’s QC said that the judge’s response to the question was, in effect, telling them that they could not convict only on forensic evidence if they did not believe Hinds’ story. “The jury were asking how should we address this case and the learned trial judge reminded them that the issue of Hinds was front and centre,” Richards stated.
However, the Court of Appeal judges disagreed with the crown and quashed the conviction, ordering another trial to be set in the Grand Court. Martinez is currently serving a mandatory life sentence and, despite the decision of the court, he will remain in custody until his retrial date.
In the wake of the decision, defence attorney Nicholas Dixie told CNS, “The Court of Appeal has patiently and carefully considered the arguments put forward by the parties and thoroughly reviewed all the relevant material. Our client is understandably relieved that the court has allowed his appeal but his future naturally remains uncertain at this time. We share the hope that this case will finally be completed soon.”
The key witness in the case, Jason Hinds, is a Jamaican national who, local law enforcement officials have now confirmed, was recently deported as a result of having served his sentence for his conviction of accessory after the fact. The crown made no comment on the appeal court’s decision.

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Petique donates supplies to animal charities

| 17/08/2010 | 1 Comment

(CNS: The Cayman Islands Humane Society and Cayman Wildlife Rescue recently received such much needed supplies from Petique. Both groups received numerous supplies including pet carriers, caging, leashes, food bowls and pet beds. Jackie Balls owner of Petique commented, “We are just happy to do our part by giving these items to help animals in need.”(Left to right: Alison Corbett – CWR, Jackie Balls – Petique, Carolyn Parker – CIHS and Peter John Balls – Petique)

The Humane Society gratefully received the supplies, using many of them as gifts for people adopting from the shelter. CIHS President Carolyn Parker said, “We are currently offering a free gift, while supplies last, for those persons adopting a cat or dog from the shelter.” For more information on the Humane Society members of the public can call 949-1461 or visit the shelter to meet the available cats and dogs ready for adoption. Members of the public can also contribute by donating used items for the book loft & thrift shop or by volunteering.

Cayman Wildlife Rescue received pet carriers, cages, bird toys and food dishes. Program Manager Alison Corbett added, “All of these items will be used for our animals in care, we are very grateful to receive these much needed supplies.” Cayman Wildlife Rescue is a program of the National Trust for the Cayman Islands of more information members of the public can call 917-BIRD (2473) Wildlife Rescue Hotline, visit or email caymanwildliferescue@gmail to become a volunteer.

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US hedge funds contemplate going European

| 17/08/2010 | 6 Comments

(Forbes): As something like normality has settled down among hedge fund managers on both sides of the pond in recent months, the question of where to find new investors (and new money) returns to its rightful place as a top concern for many US and UK-based firms. And in the face of regulatory lemons, a number of fund managers are making lemonade.

Go to blog posting

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Cayman cricket team beats Argentina

| 17/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(ICC): Cayman Islands kicked off its Pepsi ICC World Cricket League Division 4 (WCL Div. 4) in style today by defeating Argentina by five wickets. The match, having been abandoned yesterday at Medicina, was replayed today at Pianoro and saw the Cayman Islands team prove their worth with both bat and ball against the South American side. Having won the toss Saheed Mohamed chose to field which proved to be a good choice with the team restricting Argentina to 160 in its 50 overs. Opening batsman Matias Paterlini departed early after being caught behind by Cayman Islands’ wicketkeeper Ramon Sealy. (Photo courtesy of ICC)

Go to article, photographs of match and post-match video

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Cops to tape interviews

| 17/08/2010 | 25 Comments

(CNS): Detectives from the RCIPS will soon be video taping interviews with criminals in order to remove any questions of doubt over what happens behind closed doors at the police station. Police Commissioner David Baines said on Tuesday evening that video suites with the latest equipment have been set up and once the training and process are complete officers will begin recording interviews of suspects involved in serious crimes. One of a number of initiatives that the top cop announced at a public meeting in George Town, Baines said he is aiming to improve the conviction rate oncases that go to court.

Baines said that there had been criticisms of the RCIPS regarding the failure of cases against criminals once they reach court. He said the introduction of video taping, which was common in other jurisdictions, would ensure that who said what would be recorded on video. “It is no good if we bring charges against those committing crime if we mess up the file when it goes to court,” he said, adding that he wanted to eliminate the procedural errors that could be challenged by the defence.
The issue of taping interviews has been on the RCIPS agenda for several years, with past commissioners also promising to implement the procedures. However, the issue of training officers seems to have been a past stumbling block. Baines said officers were being trained now and that tape recording interviews was a critical part of professional police work.
He also said he was keen to introduce more CCTV on the island as it had proved very helpful in a number of cases, and address the fundamental problem faced by the RCIPS, which was reluctant witnesses. He said the quality of video tape being used in court in the UK today was very good and had proved to be of enormous assistance to law enforcement
Speaking to an audience of around forty people, which included current and past George Town MLAs, Baines told the people he was working on stabilising and professionalising the RCIPS.
He said that there had been professional gaps exposed in the courts and he was doing his best to ensure that those problems were addressed. He said that in the court the benefit of reasonable doubt went to the defendant and the police had to work to ensure the reasonable doubt wasn’t created because of the procedures they had got wrong.
“We now have an exhibits officer and proper system for securing and identifying exhibits,” Baines stated as he answered questions about court cases where it was revealed that the integrity of evidence appeared to have been compromised.
He admitted that officers had been “cutting corners” and had been “found wanting” and he said that all of these issues, from crime scene protection right through to evidence gathering and storing, were now being addressed. “I accept all those criticisms,” the commissioner said. “We are now focusing on improving those standards. “We have gone through files and examined where the weaknesses were and we have already started to improve and the allegations of evidence tampering will be reduced.”
The RCIPS will soon have the opportunity to demonstrate the improvements in detection and evidence gathering as a number of trials related to gang violence opens in the Grand Court. The first relates to the fatal shooting of Omar Samuels in July 2009, which triggered a spate of tit for tat killings, in which another four young men lost their lives. The three men charged with Samuels’ murder will begin their trial on Monday 30 August.
Baines stated that, despite the professional gaps and various problems that had been revealed in connection with evidence and police cases in court, the RCIPS was taking undue criticism. He said if people were to believe the blogs the police were doing nothing at all, yet HMP Northward was full, the George Town police cells were full and the court dockets were booked for the next eighteen months with trials. He said, while there was some dead wood, the majority of officers were working hard to make the community feel safe.
Baines said the goal of the series of public meetings was to allow the people to raise their concerns and have their say and for the RCIPS to listen.
The next RCIPS Meeting will be in East End on Wednesday evening at 7pm at the community centre.

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Police seek owner of engine found in Jamaica

| 17/08/2010 | 7 Comments

(CNS): The police have said they are still seeking the owner of an engine and other goods which they believe were stolen in the Cayman Islands and have now ended up in Jamaica. Officers from Bodden Town CID and the Drugs Task Force began an investigation following the recovery of the stolen items in Jamaica. Members of the public are asked if they recognize the Yamaha 90hp boat engine (pictured left) and are urged to come forward if they believe it is theirs or know who it belongs to. Detective Inspector Kathy Marshall of the Drugs Task Force said: “We are keen to reunite this boat engine with its rightful owner and further the investigation surrounding its disappearance and subsequent recovery in Jamaica.” 

Anyone with information about this crime is asked to call DC Ian McDonald of Bodden Town CID on 947 2220.

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Levers reveals ordeal

| 17/08/2010 | 25 Comments

(CNS): In the wake of her removal from the bench, former Grand Court Judge, Priya Levers, admitted last week that the investigation and tribunal into her behaviour was both a humiliating and difficult ordeal. Accepting the recent ruling of the Privy Council, Levers said she had never intended to hurt anyone but it was the “spoken word that had defeated” her.  She said that it was evident she had spoken out of turn and the manner in which she made comments in the court was inappropriate. However, Levers pointed out that she had committed no crime or engaged in any corruption, even though there were times during the enquiry that she felt people treated her as if she had.

Speaking to CNS in response to a request for an interview, the former Grand Court judge revealed that the investigation and tribunal had been a very difficult period in her life but she was not seeking to dispute the Privy Council judgment. “I have the utmost respect for their lordships and their findings,” Levers said.
The details of the investigation and the allegations were publicly revealed during the tribunal hearings, including some of Levers’ most private correspondence. She said that when her personal letters and even her dying wishes had been probed and scrutinised, it was exceptionally hurtful. Levers described being ostracised and humiliated and made to feel as though she had committed a serious criminal offence on occasion.
“The way I have been treated over the last two years has not been pleasant,” Levers stated. “I felt, at times, it was unnecessarily harsh, especially when my personal correspondence was probed and even my dying wishes were made public, which, I do not believe usefully, supported any allegation against me,” she said.
The former judge noted that, despite the considerable violation of her privacy as part of the tribunal’s enquiry and the scrutiny of her mail and private correspondence, the evidence was not even considered by the Privy Council in its final judgment.
Levers said that during the investigation she had not only found support from her family and friends but she was also surprised to have found immense support from her defence team of Stanley Brodie and Anthony Akiwumi, who she said helped her maintain some dignity in what were sometimes truly humiliating moments. She also added that since the Privy Council’s decision, Governor Duncan Taylor had treated her with great courtesy.
Although Levers has only one kidney, the former judge said she had found the strength to get through and learned that she had considerably more resilience than she herself had even been aware.
Now as the ordeal is over, Levers, reflecting on the ruling, said she was relieved the Privy Council had at least repaired some of the damage to her reputation in the wake of the tribunal’s condemnation. The PC had acknowledged her legal acumen and she pointed out that none of her judgments were in question. The hundreds of rulings she had made since coming to the Cayman Islands had been upheld she observed, even the more than 45 cases made during the year she was on dialysis.
Levers said she was also gratified that the PC had sought to point out that she had high standards and she said she still believed high standards were important anywhere but even more so in a small jurisdiction.
The comments that she had made in court, which she said had been misinterpreted, came, she explained, from a genuine desire to reform the people who had come before her. However, Levers made it clear she was not trying to justifying anything and admitted what she said was inappropriate and deeply regretted any offence those remarks caused, despite her not having intended any.
“One has to be particularly careful how one expresses oneself as one can see how it is easy to be misunderstood,” she said. “Clearly my use of the term ‘you people’ was construed as offensive when it was meant to be nothing more than a casual if inappropriate use of a common term in Jamaica.”
She said she believed that judges should, and could, make social comment and that the Privy Council had not suggested judges shouldn’t talk about society’s ills but that in her case the manner in which she made her comments was found to be unacceptable.
The Privy Council said that there was a large body of statements from people who had known and worked with her showing that she has many admirable qualities. “She is a sound lawyer. She is industrious and she sets high standards,” the PC judgment stated. “Levers J has high standards and shows strong disapproval for those whom she does not consider measure up to them.”
The UK judges went on to say that the disapproval extended both to some who have appeared in her court and to her own colleagues. “Unfortunately she has not kept that disapproval to herself. It has led her repeatedly to make in courtcomments that have ranged from the inappropriate to the outrageous about those who have appeared before her and, on two occasions, about her judicial colleagues.”
Levers said she regretted airing her concerns to staff at the court and noted that if the Judicial and Legal Services Commission had been in place when her own problems first arose, she would have had an independent channel to air grievances and, as it turned out, for others to air theirs about her.
“An independent channel would have been very helpful in this situation,” Levers added. “The introduction of this commission will make a significant and positive difference. I believe they will set new standards for the jurisdiction in the future. Not that my opinion really counts anymore but I think the pre-eminent men and the one woman who have been appointed are excellent choices.”
When asked about her own position as a woman on the Grand Court bench in a profession still dominated by men, Levers said she did not believe her gender really played a part in the events which surrounded her departure. “I have never felt it is detrimental to be a woman,” she added and said that all judges of both genders are not immune from, at times, making inappropriate comments.
Looking to the future Levers said she has many things to now consider, and while writing a book is not out of the question, she says she is looking forward to a quieter time. A Jamaican national, Levers was born in Sri Lanka, where she says she intends to visit shortly to sort out the affairs of her late brother, who died very recently and for whom she has had littleopportunity to grieve as a result of the tribunal.
Levers was called to the bar in England in 1967 and practised as an attorney in Sri Lanka, England and Bermuda. In 1977 she married a Jamaican and moved to Jamaica, where she practiced for the next 27 years before being invited to in 2002 to sit as an additional judge of the Cayman Islands Grand Court. She was appointed permanently to the bench in the following year.

Read the Privy Council Judgment 

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Joy rider smashes stolen bike

| 17/08/2010 | 0 Comments

(CNS) A young male who lostcontrol of a motorcycle he had reportedly taken without permission is recovering in hospital this evening (Monday 16 August). Police arrested the youngster for DUI as well as for taking the motorbike, which crashed into a hedge and barbed wire fence in Birch Tree Hill Road, West Bay. The incident, in which no other vehicles were involved, occurred at around 5:20pm Monday. The juvenile rider was taken to the George Town hospital after the smash with a broken shoulder and bruises. The motorcycle was significantly damaged in the crash, officers said, and police are now seeking witnesses to the incident.

Anyone with more information is asked to contact the investigating officer PC Wheeler at the traffic management unit 946 6254

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