Silence stretches prison term

| 25/10/2011

(CNS): The refusal of a robbery getaway driver to give up his criminal associates or the whereabouts of the guns used in the crime has resulted in a long sentence for the silent man, despite the fact that he did not take part in the actual robbery. Having pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact of robbery, John Alfredo Miller was given a five year sentence by Justice Charles Quin on Tuesday as a result of his silence about the actual robbers. In refusing to assist the police to find the gunmen or the weapons used in the crime, Miller said he was afraid for his own life, as well as that of his family members.

The maximum sentence for the crime is seven years after trial, and while Miller was given a two year reduction as a result of his early guilty plea, the judge found no other factors that could discount the sentence, in particular assisting the authorities, which was noted as the strongest of all mitigating factors. Justice Quin said the absence of cooperation with the police in the case was a “deeply regrettable consequence of the pervasive and abhorrent influence” criminals currently have in the Cayman Islands.

“To this defendant I state that the fear he has for himself and his family will only spread if criminals are allowed to thrive and remain at large,” Justice Quin observed during his sentencing ruling. “I would implore this defendant to examine carefully all the consequences related to his silence in the round and understand that there is no long term good for him, his family or the community when criminals are allowed to thrive and their actions go unpunished.”

The three armed men who perpetrated what the judge said was a robbery of the most serious kind have never been brought to justice and the guns or imitation weapons they used to put fear into as many as five victims on the night of the crime never recovered.

“This defendant has decided that due to fear for his safety and that of his family he will not assist the crown, the court or indeed himself by identifying the gunmen or providing some information which could assist the police to recover the three guns,” Justice Quin said before he handed down the five year jail term.

The crime took place on 29 November last year at ‘The Shoppe’ on the junction of Watercourse Road and North West Point Road in West Bay. Three armed men carrying shotguns and hand guns entered the store, where they threatened and robbed both the customers inside of mobile phones and $550 cash from the shop’s register. The robbers also threatened a man approaching the scene as they left the shop and made their escape, telling him to turn around.

One of the victims saw a white Ford Explorer, which appeared to have been waiting for the robbers, pick them up and drive off at great speed, heading in the direction of the West Bay four-way stop. The witness noted the registration and immediately called the police.  Sometime later the police located and stopped the car but by then the robbers had disappeared.

When Miller admitted his part in the robbery as the getaway driver, he claimed that he had received a call asking him to go to Watercourse Road to pick someone up. It was then, as he parked in a driveway near to The Shoppe, that Miller saw the three gunmen, who he admitted got into his car for a short time before he dropped them off.

The court found that Miller had in fact already been waiting for the gunmen with the intention of taking them away after they had committed the crime of robbery. He had left the car’s engine running and witnesses saw him leave at high speed, the judge observed, helping the robbers escape and in doing so, “he aided, abetted and assisted the gun men to leave the scene of the crime undetected,” impeding their apprehension.  

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Category: Crime

Comments (25)

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  1. mr west bayer says:

    Lol now thats a real man, snitched on himself and let his boys get away

  2. streetwise says:

    It's better to serve extra time than be known as a snitch  for the rest of your life

  3. Anonymous says:

    Today the UK introduced new much more severe sentencing for violent criminals. We should do the same. Here is what the UK is going to do  from today's Guardian:

    • A four-month mandatory custodial sentence for aggravated knife possession for 16- and 17-year-olds but not for younger children. Those convicted of using a knife or offensive weapon to threaten and endanger will be given a four-month detention and training order. Adults are to face an automatic six-month sentence for the same offence.

    • A "two strikes and you're out" mandatory life sentence for anyone convicted of a second very serious sexual or violent offence, extending the life sentence beyond murder for the first time.

    • An extended determinate sentence [EDS] for dangerous criminals convicted of a serious and violent sexual crimes, who will serve at least two-thirds, scrapping the current consideration of parole at the halfway point. Release for those in the most serious category serving this sentence will require the approval of the parole board. Those paroled will be under recall licence for at least 10 years.

    • An extended licence period: those who have served an EDS will have to serve a further period on licence – an extra five years for sex offenders and eight years for violent offenders – during which they can be recalled to prison if necessary.

    The new sentencing regime is contained in amendments tabled on Wednesday night to the legal aid, sentencing and punishment bill .

  4. 345 Citizen says:

    I do agree with some of the comments stated. For far too long police have talking loosely to friends and family about certain cases. This cause treats to the witness in the case. Death threats will be sent by other individuals either in person or over the phone. Yes it is easy to get a sim card but you still have to present a id and also sign a form. So what the criminals do. they get other people to purchase the sim card for their criminal empire. Some people talk hard on their comments say things like it easy to do. Being a witness is like having a target on your forehead. Sometime it works out for some but other times you have to constantly be looking over your shoulders. All in all when you in that particular situation we can talk but if not we should read and observe. Thats just my two cents. hate it or love it the truth can only be the truth

  5. Anonymous says:

    Hold on!

    He was in charge of the vehicle, he allowed firearms in the vehicle. What happened to him being charged with being in possession of firearms?????

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe they didn't find any firearms in the vehicle? Duh….

      • Anonymous says:

        He admitted to the guns being in the car. Duh

      • Anonymous says:

        They did not have to 09:05, They had just robbed a store with firearms and the other three got away with the firearms. DUH!!! WEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    There is a breed of criminal in the Cayman Islands that unortunately seems home grown that is totally ruthless and has no regard for human life. Miller is correct in believing that his life would have been in danger. These criminals will need to be rooted out by the RCIPs by force and until that happens Cayman will remain unsafe.

  7. Anonymous says:

    And there, in a nutshell, you have it.  The reason why nobody comes foward to report crimes.  A slip of the tongue of one RCIPS officer, or one reporter, or another witness; or even if your names comes up in related gossip, you're toast.

    • so Anonymous says:

      And there in a nutshell, you have it.  A very good reason not to be involved in a crime with your homeys.  Either you get killed by your "friends" or you take a hit for them.  Better think twice about doing the easy stuff.  Better yet get an education, work skills, and real friends.

      • Dennie Warren Jr. says:

        While I agree with your comments, I don’t think that is the only issue which has to be considered.  In a case where the witness is a law-abiding person, I would be grateful to hear from you about just how the State would be able to prevent the law-abiding witness from being harmed or murdered.  Do you believe that it is hard for an incarcerated criminal to purchase the services of criminals who are outside of prison?

        • so Anonymous says:

          They can't.  They can only keep you as safe as you can keep yourself.  Just like the rest of us.

  8. Analyzer says:

    If Miller admitted to the RCIPS that he "received a call"………a telephone call that is traceable by records either through the communications systems of Lime or Digicel, are you telling me that the RCIPS could not have ascertained a specific date and time from Miller for this specific call, tied the details the phone call into the information on the communications report and then requested the names and addresses of those numbers that appeared on Miller's phone records, follow this lead – I would have thought that this would have been sufficient to raise enough suspicion that would warrant a person being brought in for questioning. 

    Are you telling me that the RCIPS could not have done their own forensic investigation and arrived at some other conclusion other than to ASK  Miller who his associates are???

    Are you telling me that this is the level of intelligence we are dealing with……… this statement again, :Miller admitted his part in the robbery as the getaway driver he claimed that he had received a call asking him to go to Watercourse Road to pick someone up. It was then as he parked in a driveway near to The Shoppe that Miller saw the three gunmen who he admitted got in to his car for a short time before he dropped them off"

    Good Lord, no wonder the robbers are able to outsmart the police.

    Geeeeesomepeace mannn!!!



    • Anonymous says:

      Your level of "intelligence" truly amazes me couch detective! You clarely came to a conclusion after that sentence alone and didn't bother to read on to the part that quotes:

      "The court found that Miller had in fact already been waiting for the gunmen with the intention of taking them away after they had committed the crime of robbery."


      Always coming to a conclusion without looking at the facts, if you are so much more intelligent than RCIP's Detectives then apply for a job there and work your way to becoming one. Oh wait, I guess you're better than that right?

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously? -The RCIPS aren't the smartest but they're not the dumbest either…I'm pretty sure they did look into the phone records but lets not forget how easy it is for someone to obtain a "pay as you go" sim, which does not have the owner/users information.

  9. Anonymous says:

    "Miller said he was afraid for his own life as well as that of his family members."  Maybe he should have thought of that before getting involved with these people and agreeing to be involved in their criminal activities. 

    Good job Justice Quin on taking a hard line here.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Five years is NOT enough

  11. Anonymous says:

    I am very glad to see that the refusal to cooperate is taken seriously by the Court.


    What is now needed is for the politicians to create a new offence of wilful refusall to cooperate which would also carry a separate penalty to be served consecutively after the penalty for being a participant in the offence. We must send a strong signal that cooperating with the criminals rather than the police will not be tolerated.

    • Anonymous says:

      15.33 'Willful refusal to cooperate' might equate to 'refusing to commit suicide,' and suicide is illegal. Bit of a Catch 22, eh?

  12. Anonymous says:

    He's afraid of something, or someone.

    • Anonymous says:

      He should be afraid of the police and afraid to go to jail for a very long time. Unfortunately he is afraid of neither. That is the problem!

      • Anonymous says:

        Would you be afraid of the guys with guns, or the ones without?

      • Anonymous says:

        If I witnessed a crime and it were to put my family in danger to coorperate with our slack RCIPS then good luck ever getting me to talk. Until the criminals, their family members, friends, sigificant others and pets were all dead I wouldn't utter a peep.


        However I'm never going to be involved in aiding any criminal activity so in this case he can sleep on the bed he's made for himself.