Gangs targeted in new law

| 10/11/2011

(CNS): Anyone who is found guilty of being a member of a gang engagedin criminal activity could face twenty years in jail under proposed changes to the penal code, even if they have not been found guilty ofother criminality. The amendments to the criminal procedure and the penal codes are due to come before legislators this month and are aimed at giving the authorities greater powers to deal with gangs. Among the many changes, police will also be given the power to force anyone they believe is suspected of a crime to remove anything that may conceal their identity such as hoodies, bandanas or sun glasses.

In the wake of the September spate of gang violence, when five young men were killed over a period of eight days, police officials spoke of the inadequacy of existing gang legislation as there have never been any prosecutions in Cayman under that part of the penal code. Police Commissioner David Baines said he hoped that the law could be changed to increase the powers of the police to control what they suspect is gang activity. 

Under the new proposals, government intends to amend section 231 of the law to read that a person who is “a member of a gang; or participates in or contributes to the activities of a gang knowing that any or all of the members of the gang engage in or have, within the preceding three years, engaged in the commission of a series of serious offences, is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of five hundred thousand dollars and to imprisonment for twenty years."

Gangs will be defined as three or more people in any group, association or other body whether formally or informally organised that has crime as one of its primary activities.

The new law will allow police greater powers of control and arrest in neighbourhoods where gang activity or anti-social behavior is taking place and remove from the streets anyone they suspect is a gang member or who has harassed or threatened anyone in the community.

Police will also be allowed to ask people to remove items that they believe may conceal a suspect’s identity and to use reasonable force if they refuse.  The proposed law states: “A police officer may in any public place, stop a person and – (a) require that person to remove any item which the police officer reasonably suspects that person is wearing to obscure or conceal his identity; or (b) seize any item which that person has and which the police officer reasonably suspects that person has for the purpose of obscuring or concealing his identity.”

The law will allow the police to “use reasonable force, if necessary, in the exercise of the powers” conferred and arrest anyone who refused to take off the item in question.

With few of Cayman’s gang members supporting specific identifying tattoes or colours, the police have more difficulty in defining criminal gang members and arresting them. As a result, law enforcement officials said they need to find other powers of arrest to allow them to arrest gang members and remove them from the streets in an effort to reduce gang violence.

The police have also asked politicians to examine the law in relation to the right to search a property or car where they believe guns may be concealed without a warrant in the same way that the law currently allows for them to search premises without a warrant for drugs but no amendments have yet been proposed regarding firearms.

See penal code amendment bill below

Category: Crime

Comments (24)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Generalismo direct says:

    Remember now robbers and burglars if you wear a clear plastic bag or stocking or a Donald Duck haloween mask you cant be stopped those are not listed. For all those thinking of Occuping Cayman i guess the V for Vengemce mask may not be a good choice or idea and if you have friends with the same mask that probably will constitute a gang making you liable for arrest. I wonder if this will apply to the biggest gang i now see around the Police who under the blanket of security can now do as they please and hide behind the law to avoid being arrested or prosecuted for these very things they want society to comply with. The balance is tipping Cayman and when injustices becomes the law of the land resistance becomes the duty of its people. Our useless politicians seem to believe they are immune to the law and overthrow.

  2. Minority Control says:

    I wonder Cayman it this law will be extended to those who sit down in certain unamed buildings and conspire to obstruct corruption investigations and protect members from the laws of the land or is it just for us lower peons and  criminals who get their hands dirty by carrying out actual lawful objection and or violent acts against society rather than those who are really responsible for the situation who in fact commit the crimes that do real damage to our society. Alas Cayman the untouchables continue their evil rule in secret. Well Cayman this is the society you wanted the Police can now pull your raincoat off you by force. if it is determine you hiding yourself in it. Next step will be control of  thought and speech if you speak about a gang or have thoughts about a gang you will be arrested. What a sad state of affairs. The Pre Crime police will be waiting for you. The Criminals have indeed been victorious we have in fact change our society for them. None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.

  3. anonymous says:

    Hopefully, this will not be abused but if it means I don"t have to wait to get home from work while a little throng of weed heads complete their financial transactions in plain sight of everyone in the middle of the road and litter the l area they squat in, it might be woth at least a try.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Wake up guys! The police can't take tint off winshields let alone guns off gangsters!

  5. Ricky Laws says:

    In light of the fatherless kids in todays society I for one believe these youngsters need gangs to act as their surrogate parents.

    They need to feel wanted and loved and being part of a gang is the only way they get this.

    Now the authorities want to taketh this away and make it a crime?

    Absolute madness.

     

    • Dred says:

      need?

      I would be careful with throwing that around so loosely. It's almost like saying they can't help what they are doing now.

      I do grow tired of people up into the 30's and 40's even high 20's still blaming the parents for them selling drugs and robbing people.

      I can understand as a young child in school getting into trouble and bad friends but as we grow we come to understand right from wrong and WE MAKE DECISIONS that are of our own accord to do what we do. The time for blaming mommy and daddy are now behind us.

      I know many of those kids may have not gottenthe greatest education but they can do classes after the fact to advance their education. This brings me to my next point:

      That Nation Building Fund could have helped here….But maybe some good citizens could assist also….

      I know that when I came out of school that there were many kids finishing in set 4-6 that would struggle to make ends meet as they would struggle finding good paying jobs. I do not believe these kids can not learn. I believe they are probably not in the right mindset to do so. Many of these children did not have parents to assist them or keep them focussed.

      I would like to see one of two things:

      1) UCCI offering adult education programs geared at after school adults to enhance their education level. The cost for these programs would be offset against the Nation Building Fund. I will expand on an idea after #2.

      2) Local Scholarship where local businesses could set forth funds to help sponsor and potentially hire these people after the schooling.

      I would like to see local businesses not only aiming after the creame of our crop but for the under-privileged also. We need to take care of our top end and our bottom end otherwise the bottom end will deteriorate the whole mix.

      I would like to see these businesses offering these adults trying to better their education jobs to help advance them into our society. Not out of charity but because they invested in them and they helped them along their path to a decent job.

      I believe it is time for our business community to start giving back in otherways to our community.

    • Whodatis says:

      Surely you jest.

      However, for almost every fatherless kid we see today there is a mother that was attracted to and chose a particular category of worthless man to sleep with and procreate.

      This growing and disturbing trend is what is in dire need of attention but no one of authority wants to touch it because it is considered too sensitive.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Completely useless this law or any law.

    Look at the US cities, controlled by gangs.

    Gangs are now part of this country and there is nothing we can do about it.

    Crime money ends up in real estate and politics.

    20 years ago there was an oppertunity, now it is too late.

    With tourisme on the way down, and Cuba opening up soon, the cayman islands will be forgotten and avoided, because it has NOTHING to offer but corruption, poverty and crime.

     

  7. Anonymous says:

    What a world we live in! Walk in a "gang", defined as a group of 3 or more people. Get 20 years in prison and KILL/ MURDER, RAPE and practially walk free!! WOW :O

    • Anonymous says:

      Please don't be stupid, did you READ the definition of a gang?
      "Gangs will be defined as three or more people in any group, association or other body whether formally or informally organised that has crime as one of its primary activities."

  8. Anonymous says:

    I just had a delicious thought, one of those unintended consequences….

    "Gangs will be defined as three or more people in any group, association or other body whether formally or informally organised that has crime as one of its primary activities."

    Could this be applied to politicians?

    • TWILIGHT ZONE says:

      You caught that too, huh?!?

      Let's not stop there with politicians, but what about Anonymous posters being defined under the new law as "gang" members?

      Before a proper analysis can be entertained, certain ground rules and definitions need to be established.  For this discussion and according to Section 229, the following definitions are set forth:

      1) A "SERIOUS OFFENCE" means an offence for which the maximum punishment is imprisonment for TWELVE MONTHS OR MORE;

      2) "PUBLIC PLACE" includes any public way and any other premises or place to which at the material time the public has or is permitted to have access, whether on payment or otherwise;
      3) "ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR" means behaviour by a person which causes or is likely to cause harassment, alarm or DISTRESS to one or more other persons not of the same household as the person;
      4) "GANG" means any group, association or other body consisting of three or more persons, whether formally or informally organised –
           a) having as one of its primary activities the commission of a serious offence; and
           b) ANY OR ALL of the members of which engage in or have, within the preceding three years, engaged in the commission of a series of SERIOUS OFFENCES.
       
      Now, upon a closer examination of the Penal Code, Section 232 of the law also defines a "gang member" as:
      A person who –
           a) participates in or contributes to the activities of a gang knowing that ANY or all of the members of the gang ENGAGE in or have, within the preceding three years, engaged in the commission of a series of SERIOUS OFFENCES; or
           b) is a party to the commission of a SERIOUS OFFENCE, for the benefit of, at the direction of, or in association with, a gang, is guilty of an offence and liable to a fine of FIVE HUNDRED THOUSAND DOLLARS and to imprisonment for TWENTY YEARS".
      This same law gives RCIPS the authority to arrest and seize property (like a computer) WITHOUT A WARRANT that which he suspects has engaged in the ANONYMOUS commission of a SERIOUS OFFENCE, including PUBLISHING INSULTING WORDS about someone that causes them DISTRESS!
      Read Section 232D.
      1) A police officer may in any public place, stop a person and – 
           a) require that person to remove any item which the police officer reasonably suspects that person is wearing to obscure or conceal his identity; or
           b) SEIZE ANY ITEM which that person has and which the police officer reasonably SUSPECTS THAT PERSON HAS for the purpose of obscuring or CONCEALING HIS IDENTITY.
      2) A police officer may use reasonable force, if necessary, in the exercise of the powers conferred under subsection (1).
      3) A person who fails to comply with an order from a police officer under subsection (1) or obstructs a police officer in the course of performing his duties under subsection (1), is guilty of an offence and liable to a FINE OF THREE THOUSAND DOLLARS and to IMPRISONMENT FOR FOUR YEARS.
      4) A police officer MAY ARREST, WITHOUT A WARRANT, anyone he reasonably SUSPECTS has COMMITTED AN OFFENCE under subsection (3).
      5) The POWERS CONFERRED under this section are IN ADDITION TO and not in derogation of any power otherwise conferred."
      In our current government, on the record we have heard of appointed board members being threatened with removal from certain government boards if they stood in the way of not voting in a united way to effect progress on a particular agenda item.  It has also been confirmed by the Governor's office that an investigation is pending into the actions of one of our elected officials, and that he has commenced with legal action against vocal members of the community.  Our civil service still grapples with wanting to participate fully in community affairs but fear that openly vocalising their opinions might lead to retaliation and/or termination. 
      This type of censureship has undoubtedly fueled the popularity of anonymously posting and participating in online forums such as this.  But when a person's freedom can be taken by a government official who wields around a lot of influence and power, we cannot leave to chance the very INTERPRETATION of who can be considered "a gang member", because how the law is currently written is ambigious.
      For example, everyone knows that a volatile subject is that of Caymanians and expats, and with the recent actions from the Filipino government banning Filipinos from accepting work in Cayman, some people are posting dreadful, distressing comments anonymously and under their real names. 
      So if a particular government official with a personal vendetta felt like using this pieceof legislation as a "tool" to shut down and bankrupt somebody, could they file a complaint under Section 232 and 229 that someone
      1) concealed their identity by posting threatening and hurtful comments about them anonymously and
      2) it distressed them.
       
      CAREFUL NOT TO THINK THE BIG BOY NAH GA NO SENSE!  XXXX
      • Top Trumps says:

        Like your thinking dude, and your ability to copy and paste, but 'serious offence'? You looked up the sentencing under the penal code? There really aren't many offences that are liable to a prison sentence of LESS THAN 1 year. Only crappy things like 'chain letters' and common nuisance or

        'Writing or uttering words, etc., with intent to wound religious feelings'  have that kind of sentence. Serious offences need to have a sentence, and if you research it enough, you'll see that. Look up 'serious arrestable offence' Under PACE (Police and Criminal Evidence Act) in the UK and you'll get the idea.

        Smart comments dude. Good work.

        TT

        • Anonymous says:

          Thanks and glad you like my work, Blood, but you are missing the important wording in our new gang law, which defines a serious offence as meaning an offence for whichthe maximum punishment is imprisonment for TWELVE MONTHS OR MORE.  (not less than 1 year, more than one year).  The 'or more' is what changes it all. 

           

          Our shrewd leader(s) voted to now make it a law that includes virtually EVERYTHING because they can string you up for ANY violation of the law which falls under the category of a serious offence IF it carries a maximum punishment of imprisonment for 12 months OR MORE.  They were not including the petty crimes that carry a maximum punishment of imprisonment of 11 months or less; the law says 12 months or more.

           

          Therefore, it is possible that our crafty leader(s) intended to slip these two little words 'or more' into the new gang law in an effort to restore the proper social decorum, modesty, tact and sensitivity, and high morals that long time Caymanians are used to, to give 'him with a personal vendetta' the ammunition to legally attack the shocking Anonymous posters and radio show contributors that call it like it is that is becoming more and more commonplace.  It might have been seen as a tool to cleanse the way we are talking about and treating one another.   

           

          It's all in the wording of the law.  Remember, the Grand Jury could only get President Clinton kicked out of office if they could impeach him on perjury, but it failed to do it because of what the definition of the word 'is' was.  Do you know how many hours upon hours they debated on what the word 'is' meant, until finally after convoluting the word to death, they found that he had not lied when testimony was given that "there is absolutely NO SEX OF ANY KIND in any manner, shape or form" because 'is' means current, not in the past.  They also accepted that he did not lie because under the definition of the word, Monica Lewinsky had sexual relations with him since she engaged in oral sex on him, not vice versa.  Since HE did not engage in contact with one of her listed body parts, under the definition he was found not to have engaged in 'sexual relations' with her and walked away to finish out his presidency.

           

          It might seem absurd to the average person that a pure technicality ended up in this definition and was ineptly drafted in legalese, but again, EVERYTHING IS DETERMINED IN THE INTERPRETATION OF THE WORD OF THE LAW AND WITH THE RIGHT CUNNING 'SACRED VESSEL' LEGAL REPRESENTATION! 

           

          BRING ON THE LAWSUITS!

           

           

           

    • Dred says:

      Where is my copy of thr UDP manifesto? I swear i read something——

  9. Anonymous says:

    Twenty years?? Well I hope this also includes the biggest gangs in Cayman that call themselves politicians!

  10. Top trumps. says:

    baines, maybe we could use some of CNS's legal fund to buy you a copy of the firearms law, or better still, get out of your office and ask one of the 'gangsters' you're so scared off to lend you his/hers…

    You want powers for recovering firearms? Try looking at Sec 18 (12, 13) of the firearms law 2006 revision. (bang up to date as ever)…

     

    or let me help you:

     

    "(12) If a constable has reasonable cause to suspect any person of having a firearm or bullet-proof vest with him in a public place or to be committing or about to commit an offence under the foregoing provisions of this Part, he may search that person and detain him for the purpose of searching him.

    (13) If a constable has reasonable cause to suspect that there is a firearm or bullet-proof vest in a vehicle in a public place, or that a vehicle is being or is about to be used in connection with thecommission of an offence under the foregoing provisions of this Part elsewhere than in a public place, he may search the vehicle and for thatpurpose may require the person driving or in control of it to stop it. Whoever fails to stop the vehicle when so required or obstructing the search of such vehicle when stopped is guilty of an offence and liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifty thousand dollars and to imprisonment for five years."

     

    here to help… Cheerio.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Hmm, this sounds like the er, erm, what did they call it again? Oh yeah, GANG LAW! That was it…. Oh boy. More knee jerk, soundbyte reaction from baines. You could say 'anyone who says the word 'gang' will be imprisoned for 100 years under section xyz of the penal code' but it will make no difference. The gangs have got out of control because they have no respect or fear for the police and the police couldn't catch a cold in an ice cream factory. This is ridiculous and poorly planned unsophisticated raections from people trying tocover their own failings. baines, there's never been a prosecution under the existing gang legislation'? So prosecute someone you fool.

    The rot in cayman isn't 'gangs', the rot in Cayman is local contempt for the wider picture of what is good and right for the country. saying 'we're going to do this' cures nothing. Actually 'doing this' is what cures things.

    The Cayman legal department trying to prove gang membership and trying to put someone away for 20 years? Cha-ching! get your massive law suit settlements here!

    Baines, try taking a wider view (remember when you were a copper?) and stop trying to blow smoke up everyone's ass to hide your failings. YOU are responsible for policing Cayman, when did you last go out patrol? Lead by example, not soundbytes. You disappoint me.

  12. Big Whopper says:

    Weeeesttt sideeee boyyyeeee!!!…

  13. Whodatis says:

    This is a good start.

    I only trust the 'Political Correctness Police' stop and think for a minute before tearing down these new proposals.

    I was (un)fortunate enough to experience the UK's swift transformation into a society overrun with "yobs" or "hoodies" and I feel it is of vital importance that we take steps to halt the same thing taking place in Cayman.

    In the UK one can (could?) find dozens of "kids" (aged 11 to 18 – and above) standing around on corners with hooded sweatshirts, bandanas around the neck, paper-bagged bottles of various "beverages" – all engulfed with a pungent smokey haze.

    I also witnessed these same groups carry out alarming levels of disorder, disturbance, violence, disregard for elders and authority, destruction of property etc.

    However, the most ridiculous thing about all of this is that for the most part – these "kids" were untouchable. They were unable to be adequately disciplined by their parents at home, and they were of course unable to be arrested by the police.

    Hopefully these changes will go some way to preventing our community from becoming as bad as those elsewhere.

    As for "human rights" and "police harrassment"; sorry, not much sympathy from me in this regard.

    Just as suspicions of official corruption are easily transparent due to our small size – illegal and criminal grouping and organisation should be / is as well.

    Basically, if a young man (or woman) in Cayman is widely suspected to be involved in gang / criminal activity – there is a fair chance that he is involved in gang / criminal activity.

    Furthermore, whereas I was often profiled, stopped and searched by police in the UK (as a typically attired university student mind you), I can safely say that I have never been suspected or harrassed in such a way in Cayman.

    Considering that the typical Caymanian (black / brown) is not a feared and discriminated against minority here (yet?), I believe that decent and law-abiding people should have nothing to fear from these proposals.

    Don't pretend to be "hard" or a "gangsta" if you are not one and you will be fine.

    (By the way – the "thug" look is well and truly played out isn't it? Honestly, its been well over 10 years now – get your "swag" up fellas!) Feel free to cringe at this point … I did. :o)

    Therefore, in my humble opinion, those that are affected by these changes should be well deserving of it.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Ya right if im taking my sunglasses off for some police. Maybe you should look into taking the  corupt police out of force and maybe so many guns wont be let in the island. #forward movement people. Bring in off island police force. Every two years switch the force over to a new group of police from off island. This way NO police can ever keep in close contact with criminals on the island. THINK ABOUT IT – This is a statement from a 20 yr old young caymanian, and the government cant come up with a simple solution?? wow our island is just going down the drain people.

     

     

    • Anonymous says:

      Let me guess, you probably wear those sunglasses at night too, huh?  Better your sunglasses coming off than getting your car and personal parts inspected and maybe a overnight in lockdown with some real criminals thrown in for free. 

       I have seen many a tough guy flung to the ground with a boot in his back for not complying and get charged for that and also pick up a criminal record with what should have been a simple DUI.  All that just because you wanted to act tough in front of police? 

      Just do as the officers say and relax.

  15. Dred says:

    This is a good start.

    I believe we need tougher laws also on gun crime. I want to see HIGH MINIMUM sentences on crime involving guns that lawyers and judges can not downgrade. MINIMUM SENTENCES.