Archive for April 16th, 2014

Court of appeal upholds two rape convictions

| 16/04/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Two men serving twelve year sentences for rape had their convictions upheld by the Court of Appeal during this latest session. The panel of three appeal court judges dismissed the appeals of both Dwight Wright, who was convicted in December 2012 of raping his former girlfriend, and Tyrone Ebanks, who was convicted in September of 2012 of raping a 14-year-old girl, whom he dragged from a bicycle. The third rape conviction heard by the appeal court this session was over turned on Friday and retrial ordered. Meanwhile, the fourth case of rape that the higher court was scheduled to hear was postponed until the summer session.

Philip Rose was convicted, among other offences, of raping his former girlfriend and was given a 14 year sentence.

The court also allowed Marcus Manderson’s appeal to be put over until the winter session in November as a result of his change of attorney. Manderson, who escaped from prison along with his father and another inmate at HMP Northward last year, is appealing his conviction for possession of an unlicensed firearm. Manderson was given a ten year mandatory minimum sentence when a jury found that the modified flare-gun he had attempted to throw away when being chased by police was a lethal barrel weapon.

A 21-year-old man serving eight years for wounding with intent to do GBH will also have to wait to hear his fate. Justin Ramoon had appealed his conviction for stabbing Andrew Lopez, but with a busy docket over the last two and a half weeks, the appeal court stated that its decision would be delivered in August.

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Work underway to repair key GT highway

| 16/04/2014 | 27 Comments

(CNS): Motorists heading into town could face delays in the coming weeks as the National Roads Authority undertakes repair work to the Linford Pierson Highway — a major artery into the capital. Officials said that damaged sections of the road are being removed and replaced through asphalt rotor milling which was described as a cost effective and environmentally friendly method of repairing a road surface that has begun to crack or sink due to heavy traffic loading, adverse weather conditions, or extensive structural damage to the underlying road surface layers.

The goal, the road experts said was to intervene early enough to address defects in the pavement layer and prevent any significant structural damage to the base and sub-base layers of the roadway which would be inherently more expensive and time consuming to repair.

“When this road was constructed in 2002 it was only given a 2” thick layer of hot mix asphalt,” said NRA Acting Managing Director Paul Parchment. “Within say 4-5 years, it should have had another 2” added to it to bring it to a total of 4”. That has never been done and the initial 2” layer, which is now 12 years old, is starting to show serious distress and this can only be expected to continue.

Chairman of the NRA Donnie Ebanks said the need to remove parts of the road was a legacy of not have followed the technical
“I’m sure that to many motorists there are roads that they see as being in a ‘worse condition’ than the LP Highway,” Ebanks said. “However, the only way to avoid the failure of more of the original hot mix asphalt layer, and in turn to have to remove it, is to address it now. It’s akin to leaving the ice ’n’ water shield on your roof too long, before you install the shingles of standing seam.”

The overall objective is to provide the public with a new road surface on the Linford Pierson Highway between the Silver Oaks Roundabout and Bobby Thompson Way within the next two budget cycles. The total thickness will be 4” and that should, the technicians say, serve motorists for many years to come.

The NRA plans to undertake similar activities on a smaller scale in Bodden Town, North Side, and East End in the coming months. As a result drivers are asked to be patience and drive with extra caution as he repairs are carried out.

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LIME and cops issue warnings over latest scam

| 16/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A local telecommunication provider and the police issued a warning Wednesday over the latest on-line email scam circulating to customers who have registered with the LIME online portal. LIME officials said that the phishing email appears to be addressed from the LIME Web Portal telling customers they have an unread secured message and asking them to ‘please click here to login and view’but the telecoms operator says it’s a con. Inspector Ian Lavine of the Financial Crime Unit also warned people not to send any details in response to unsolicited email

“The RCIPS Financial Crime Unit does not recommend sending any personal details via email,” he said.”The Unit is always available to give advice should any member of the community require it. Officers can be contacted on 949-8797.”
Phishing emails attempt to acquire sensitive information such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details by masquerading as a trustworthy entity.  Phishing emails normally contain links to websites that are infected with malware.

Julie Hutton, Head of Marketing, LIME Cayman Islands said there are several things that customers can do to keep themselves safe from keeping antivirus programmes up to date to  not clicking on hyperlinks in e-mails.

“If you want to check out a link, manually retype it into a web browser,” Hutton said. “Whenever you are passing sensitive information such as credit cards or bank information, make sure the address bar shows https:// rather than just http:// and that you have a secure lock icon on the bottom right hand corner of your web browser.”

Hutton advised customers to educate themselves on how to prevent these types of attacks.
“A little research on the internet may save you a great deal of pain if you are ever the victim. You should always be careful about giving out any of your personal information over the internet.  As a reminder LIME will never ask you for your username and password,” she added.
 

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Sentence sticks for white collar thief

| 16/04/2014 | 25 Comments

(CNS): A 57-year-old South African national who stole over US$846,000 from a local legal firm will continuing serving his seven and a half year sentence after the court of appeal dismissed his appeal on Wednesday. Levitt had argued that his sentence was manifestly excessive but the panel of three judges disagreed when they upheld the sentence and stated that their reasons would be delivered in writing shortly. Levitt had admitted seven counts of theft and related crimes in connection with more than 80 fraudulent transactions from the accounts of Solomon Harris, where he was employed as the financial controller.

 

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3rd Malaysian con man jailed for 16 months

| 16/04/2014 | 10 Comments

(CNS): A 37-year-old man from Malaysia who pleaded guilty in to a credit card con in a George Town jewellery store was sentenced to 16 months in jail Wednesday. Tan Teck Kuan was the third man to be convicted in what prosecutors believe was an organized criminal enterprise using cloned credit cards. Kuan who was arrested along with Hew Senn Wann and Thanabalan Manogar after he was caught trying to buy expensive watches worth over $70,000 with a fraudulent card. It is suspected that the men were sent to Cayman to try and buy expensive luxury goods with the cloned cards by loan sharks in their own countries.

 

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Retrial ordered in sex case

| 16/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The conviction against a man from Cayman Brac accused of raping his step daughter has been quashed by the court of appeal. Following submissions earlier in the appeal court session regarding new evidence which had come to light since the trial the panel agreed with the man's defense attorney that the new witness statement could have had an impact on the outcome so much so that the conviction was unsafe. After the president of the appeal panel directed a retrial in the case the defendant who had been serving a nine and half year sentence and who cannot be named for legal reasons was remanded in custody but was later released on bail.

The appeal court frond that the new evidence in this case would have been both admissible and credible. "If the evidence….had been given at the trial of the appellant it might reasonably have affected the decision of the jury to convict on each of the counts and we must therefore regard the convictions as being unsafe," Justice Elliott Mottley said as he read from the appeal court's decision over turning the verdict.

Asking defense attorney for the crown Trisha Hutchisonand for the defendant  Amelia Fosuhene of James Stenning and Associates their position on a retrial the prosecution submitted that the evidence may have had an impact but the conversation related by the new witness was said to have taken place almost three years after the offence. Hutchinson said the crown was seeking a retrial, but Fosuhene said she had concerns regarding witnesses, her client's health and above all the prejudice to him as a result of his identification on a Facebook page.

The attorney pointed to her client's picture and exposure on the controversial social media page which is hosted by a US resident but which details convicted sex offenders in Cayman and said he would not be able to have a fair trial.

The appeal court noted that now the man was no longer convicted that his details would have to be removed from the page but questions of prejudice, the court said, over a fair trial would have to be dealt with by a future trial judge as it ordered, in the interests of justice, a new trial.

The 39 year old defendant was convicted of rape and indecent assault in July last year and was sentenced to nine and a half years in jail in August. The conviction was related to allegations that he had raped his then 12 year old step daughter on one occasion and forced her to have oral sex with him on another. He was also accused of threatening her into silence about the assaults.

The case will now be re listed for a mention and a new trial date listed but the defense team is expected to argue in the grand court that the defendant, following the social media exposure, will be unable to receive a fair trial.

   
 

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AG’s lawyers moonlighting

| 16/04/2014 | 102 Comments

(CNS): A freedom of information request regarding the secondary employment of civil servants has revealed that even government lawyers are engaged in work outside of their public service duties. According to the partial results of an FOI request by a CNS reader seeking the numbers of civil servants currently moonlighting and the types of jobs they do has revealed that four people working in the Attorney General’s Chambers have outside work, including practicing law. Although the request has not revealed the civil service posts held by the public employees in the government top lawyer's office with second jobs and businesses the response reveals that at least one must be a practicing government attorney.

Although the request is seeking a much bigger picture regarding the controversial topic of civil servants who run businesses and hold second jobs, the results from the attorney general alone show that four people in that department have been given permission to engage in other work and private businesses that could bring them into conflict with the job they are paid to do by the public purse.

One staff member of the Chambers is understood to have set up an auto-mechanic shop and another is running a security company. A third is believed to have created a legal database, the details of which were not revealed but it clearly has the potential to cause a conflict. Lastly, the one which may now raise significant questions, is that a government lawyer has been given permission to practice law privately as well.

The results shown to CNS are likely to be the tip of the iceberg as the full request is seeking answers from all government departments on the numbers and types of work civil servants are undertaking, theoretically out of hours. It also demonstrates that revelations of more details are likely to expose conflicts once civil servants are required to comply with the new standards in public life legislation showing their outside interests.

It is still not clear when the law will be implemented but expectations had been that politicians and senior government workers will be required to complete the new register by 30 June this year.

But so far the much heralded law has not been implemented, and despite claims by government that it is imminent, no date has been given for the legislative change which could shine the brightest light to date on the long held concerns in the community that many public sector workers are in serious conflict as a result of their moonlighting.

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New cop becomes Caymanian

| 16/04/2014 | 82 Comments

(CNS): Young people who have grown up in the Cayman Islands and call it home but have no rights as citizens may in the future be provided with a way to gain those rights. During the final stage in the granting of Caymanian Status by Cabinet to 23-year-old Kishna Burke – the ratification by the Legislative Assembly – Premier Alden McLaughlin noted that there were many others who, like her, had lived in Cayman almost all their lives but would not, as a young person, be likely to gain permanent residency, and said government would consider a route for them other than a Cabinet status grant. Burke, a successful candidate in the recent recruitment drive by the RCIPS, made her application in March 2011.

A maximum of four people per year can become Caymanians through Cabinet, a provision made by the previous PPM government in the wake of the mass status grants of 2003 under the UDP administration.

Under the current process, people can apply to the Caymanian Status and Permanent Residency Board, which makes recommendations to Cabinet. If the members of Cabinet agree with the recommendations, the status grant must then be put to the Legislative Assembly for approval.

In September 2012 businessmen Harry Chandi and William Maines were the first to become Caymanian this way after a majority vote in favour and only North Side MLA Ezzard Miller voting against the grant. “No one should be granted Caymanians status just because they are rich,” Miller said at the time, adding that he wanted to see these special grants given to really deserving people for exceptional reasons. 

With the opposition bench empty as Burke’s status grant passed through the House last Friday afternoon, there was no debate and only the premier spoke.

He explained that she has lived in this country since the age of five and does not know the place of her birth, Jamaica, or have any family there. Although her father, a Jamaican national, obtained status through the normal immigration process, Burke’s family did not apply to have that status extended to her. So, when she turned 18 she found that she did not qualify for Caymanian status and faced the prospect of being sent back to Jamaica.

In March 2011, with little chance of gaining permanent residency, she was advised to apply to Cabinet for the right to be Caymanian, McLaughlin said. He noted that Burke, now a trainee officer in the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, has proved an outstanding member of the community and deserved the right to be Caymanian.

Premier McLaughlin said that other young people in a similar situation might not know they can apply for Cabinet status, and even if they did, four status grants per year would not be enough. Without going into details, he suggested that government would consider other ways to provide for such cases without a grant of Cabinet status.

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