Archive for August 6th, 2014

Borden guilty of murder

| 06/08/2014 | 30 Comments

(CNS) Full report: Justice Alex Henderson sentenced Brian Emmanuel Borden (29) to life in prison after finding him guilty of the cold blooded murder of 28-year-old Robert Macford Bush (left) in West Bay on the night of Tuesday 13 September 2011, accepting the prosecution’s case that he was one of two killers who shot Bush in the head at point blank range while he was trapped inside his car, having crashed into a wall as he tried to escape. Borden’s wife collapsed in tears outside the courtroom after the verdict was read but friends and family of Robert Bush were also emotional, as they said that Wednesday, the day of the verdict, was his daughter’s tenth birthday and that he had been a good and loving father. (Left: Robert Macford Bush)

The judge accepted most of the testimony of Marlon Dillon, the crown's key witness who had told the court that Borden had confessed the crime to him in a car early in 2012, as it had been corroborated by several independent witnesses.

Justice Henderson rejected the additional evidence that Dillon had offered in the witness box about Borden telling him that he had run from the scene of the crime, hidden the guns and then showered with H7 bleach to wash away all evidence of the crime, as the judge said he had never spoken of it before. He also did not accept that the confession in the car had taken place on 4 January 2012, finding that, if it had taken place, it happened in February or March that year, as Dillon had said in his first statement to the police on the matter.

The judge said he had good reason to be cautious about the evidence given by Mayra Ebanks, Bush’s girlfriend who was in the passenger seat of his car when he was killed and received superficial wounds from the shotgun pellets. She obviously associated with gang members and three of her boyfriends had been shot and killed, Justice Henderson said, but he believed that she had tried to tell the truth. He said she now lives in another country and in her testimony did not appear to have any bias or animosity towards Borden, with whom she had had a brief and casual sexual relationship.

He did not accept her evidence that she had overheard Borden on the other end of a phone telling Jordan Manderson that he was coming for “the things”, meaning guns, as he said that phone recognition was even more unreliable than sight recognition. However, Justice Henderson did accept her testimony otherwise, including her observations regarding what Manderson and David Ebanks had been wearing as they passed by her moments before the murder as she waited for Bush, and how this differed from the clothing of the two shooters – contradicting the defence’s assertion that these two young men were, in fact, the shooters rather than Borden and Keith Montaque.

The judge also found that Tracy Watler was a reliable and dependable witness, even though she had exaggerated the number of times she had visited Borden in prison. He said her description of Borden’s actions regarding Robert Bush, which amounted to stalking, and the repeated threats to his life supported the central assertion given by Marlon Dillon in his testimony.

The evidence given by the defence’s only witness, Renaldo “Naldo” Sanchez, which had directly contradicted the evidence given by Marlon Dillon that he had dropped Borden off at David Tomasa’s house the day of the confession, was rejected. Sanchez testified that he had never been to Tomasa’s house. However, Justice Henderson said that Sanchez had mislead the court by claiming that he had never been convicted of any offence, and when it was disclosed that he had been convicted of stealing a car, he had claimed he was a minor at the time, which was untrue. Therefore, the judge said he did not believe his evidence and said it “did not have the intended effect of proving Mr Dillon a liar”.

The cell site evidence given by an RCIPS expert witness, which he accepted in full, showed that Brian Borden’s phone was in the area of the murderand not at home with his wife, as he had claimed to police. This, he said, did not prove the location of the defendant but it was a reasonable inference that a phone registered to an individual will remain in the possession of that individual unless there was evidence to the contrary. He therefore rejected Borden’s alibi.

Henderson said there was strong and independent evidence to support the testimony given by Marlon Dillon, who could not have known that the cell site evidence would corroborate his claims that the two shooters were Borden and Montaque.

He said there was no evidence of animosity between Borden and Dillon, and he did not give credibility to the defence’s suggestion that he had implicated Borden in order to protect his family in case Tomasa, who was jailed for his part in two armed robberies partly on Dillon’s testimony, had wanted them harmed.

The judge further noted that Borden had not given evidence himself and he was entitled to draw adverse inference from his silence. He said Borden had been well represented and well advised and his silence could only be attributed to the fact that he had no answer or that his answers would not hold up in court, as he sentenced him to life in prison.

In the spate of tit-for-tat gang murders that were triggered by the death of Robert Bush, 19-year-old Jason Christian was shot dead and Keith Montague was severely injured after both of them were targeted by masked gunmen while sitting in a van in Crewe Road on 20 September 2011. Montaque was airlifted to Jamaica but never returned and efforts to trace him have failed.

Related article:

Alternative shooters offered

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Three new suspect cases of chikungunya reported

| 06/08/2014 | 15 Comments

(CNS): Despite three new suspected cases of the mosquito borne disease which is spreading around the Caribbean, there has still been only one local transmission in Cayman from five positive cases. Public officials said that so far  since the first suspected case in June 13 blood samples have been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) from patients suspected to have picked up the virus. While three samples are from new patients in West Bay and pending results ten of the samples have been sent back with five negative results and five positive. Four of those people who had contracted chikungunya did so in countries where the disease has taken hold just leaving one person who appears to have picked up the virus locally.

Those who have picked up the virus are from George Town, Savannah, West Bay and Cayman Brac.

While the virus doesn't appear to have gotten a hold in the local mosquito population in Cayman, according to the latest figures for the Caribbean region the virus continues to spread. To date, 6,563 confirmed cases of chikungunya have been reported with 822 cases from 20 CARPHA Member States and 5,741 cases from 11 other Caribbean countries/territories. 

Chikungunya is a viral disease transmitted to humans by the bite of infected Aedes aegypti mosquitoes, similar to dengue. Chikungunya causes fever and severe joint pain. Other symptoms include muscle pain, headache, nausea, fatigue and rash. The disease shares some clinical signs with dengue, and can be misdiagnosed in areas where dengue is common. Joint paint is predominant in chikungunya, while muscle pain is predominant in dengue.

There is no medication against the virus. Treatment is focused on relieving the symptoms- bed rest, over the counter pain killers, and plenty of fluids.

There is no vaccine against chikungunya or dengue. Prevention of these diseases is through protective measures against mosquito bites by use of mosquito repellents on skin and clothing, and when outdoors during times that mosquitoes are biting, wearing long- sleeved shirts and long pants tucked into socks. 

The proximity of mosquito breeding sites to human habitation is a significant risk factor for chikungunya. People can greatly assist in reducing the local Aedes aegypti population by clearing their yards of containers that can hold water as these are favourite breeding sites for this mosquito.
Since 2004, chikungunya fever has reached epidemic proportions globally, with considerable morbidity and suffering.

The disease occurs in Africa, Asia and the Indian subcontinent. In recent decades mosquito vectors of chikungunya have spread to Europe and the Americas. In 2007, disease transmission was reported for the first time in a localized outbreak in north-eastern Italy.

Countries Reporting an Outbreak: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas,  Barbados,  British Virgin Islands , Cayman Islands , Curacao,   Dominica ,  Grenada,  Guyana, Haiti , Jamaica , St Kitts and Nevis,  St Lucia, Sint Maarten, St Vincent and the Grenadines,  Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos Islands . Cuba, Dominican Republic, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Martinique, Puerto Rico, St Barthelemy, St Martin, United States of America, US Virgin Islands and Venezuela 

For more advice on how to control mosquitoes in your yard, contact the MRCU on 949-2557 in Grand Cayman or 948-2223 in Cayman Brac; and DEH on 949-6696 in Grand Cayman or 948-2321 in Cayman Brac.
 

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Numbers increase in GT police community meeting

| 06/08/2014 | 5 Comments

(CNS): Following several public meetings held by the RCIPS in the capital, the George Town police station boss was delighted with the figures at a meeting on Tuesday evening. Chief inspector Angelique Howell, the district commander in George Town said over 45 residents turned up at a meeting in Red Bay which she said represented a "clear message of support" for the police. The GT station chief said people raised a number of concerns at the meeting but they also said they would be coming together to put security measures in place to help keep their community safe and she in turn promised to keep up the commitment to neighbourhood policing and to hold regular meetings with the residents of the area.

Howell said the meeting was a huge success as she paid tribute to the dozens of community members who attended.

"I have always maintained that we police all districts of these Cayman Islands by consent and last night we have received a clear message of support from our community," Howell said Wednesday.

During the evenings' meeting the Chief Inspector had revealed some recent crime figures for the area. This included some 64 crimes reported during the past six months ranging from burglaries, criminal trespass, theft, ferocious dogs to dangerous driving and damage to property.

Residents identified various areas of concern included speeding, dark streets, burglaries as well as the thefts and the number of ferocious and stray animals.

However, despite the community problems, Howell said residents were keen to come together as a community to put security measures in place to make their neighbourhood safer. Howell added that the RCIPS would work them "to iron out their problems and find solutions wherever possible," as well as promising regular meetings and interaction to keep residents up to date with what the police are doing.

Howell also praised the work of her neighbourhood police team who she commended for their tireless work in all the districts to bring the police and community closer together.
 

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Merren looking for deal in drug and laundering case

| 06/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Local businessman Bryce Merren is understood to be looking to strike a deal with the American authorities regarding the charges he faces in connection with money laundering and drug smuggling. Merren, who is still held on remand in a jail in Atlanta, Georgia, after he was caught in a sting operation by undercover law enforcement officers in Puerto Rico had originally denied the serious charges but court documents now suggest that he may be reconsidering his trial currently scheduled for next week. Merren's lawyer has started talks for a plea agreement and has asked the court to postpone the 15 August trial date, for somesix weeks to see if the two sides can forego the need for a trial.

In the original documents filed in relation to the charges against Merren a Homeland Security Special Agent described the sting in which Merren was caught up. Posing as a drug dealers, US agents met with Merren to set up an alleged drug smuggling operation. Merren is accused of using his contacts and businesses in Cayman to help launder the cash from the drug deals.

Merren was alleged to be looking to buy thousands of kilos of cocaine in July last year and set up a bank account in Puerto Rico where the deal was expected to go down and in order to fund the trafficking.
 

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‘Numbers man’ murder trial

| 06/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): The crown’s case against Raziel Omar Jeffers, who is on trial for the murder of a ‘numbers man’ in Maliwinas Way in March 2010, is that he masterminded the robbery of Marcos Mauricio Duran, chose his ‘soldiers’, armed them with lethal weapons and during the course of the planned stick-up, the victim was shot and killed. On Tuesday Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards, QC, told the one man and eleven women on the jury that there was no suggestion that Jeffers actually delivered the fatal shot or was present when the fatal shot was fired or that his death was intended but that Duran’s death was a “probably consequence” of the nature of the crime. 

According to the crown, Jeffers, together with Jordan Manderson, murdered Duran outside the apartment off North West Point Road, West Bay, on 11 March 2010, shortly after 7:20 in the evening. The jury can also consider an alternative charge of manslaughter for Jeffers.

The jury was told that they will hear evidence that just before the death of Duran, Jeffers watched and waited for his arrival, that he informed his ‘soldiers’ – younger members of his gang – when he reached the apartment of a woman to whom he was in the habit of selling illegal lottery ‘numbers’ to. He then informed them when Duran left so that they could carry out the armed robbery. Although there is no evidence that they intended to harm the victim, during the hold-up Duran was fatally shot in the head and once in the hand. Manderson was shot in the leg during the incident.

Richards explained to the jury that because of the nature of the plan and the use of lethal weapons that death or serious injury was a likely scenario. If a person points a loaded weapon at another person they must have intended to use it, she argued.

The DPP also said that Jeffers tried to cover up the crime by helping to clean up the getaway car and that he told his girlfriend to tell a key witness, the woman who was buying the numbers from Duran, to say that members of the rival Logwood gang had carried out the crime.

Richards said that Jeffers told his girlfriend in advance about the planned robbery of the ‘numbers man’. Immediately afterwards, he called her and sounded “panicky” as he asked her to pick him up. At that time he told her that he did not know what had happened but said that “the poor numbers man is dead”.

The jury also heard from the first two witnesses. A neighbour who heard the gunshots that night and called 911 said he saw "a shadow" of a person moving behind the apartments when he arrived one or two minutes later.

The first police officer at the scene said that he looked at Duran's wallet to find identification and found CI$225 and US$40 was still inside.

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Turtle Farm hiding behind ‘conservation curtain’

| 06/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Cayman Turtle Farm claims to be a conservation facility but World Animal Protection (WAP) representative Neil D’Cruze says those claims may not be true and there may be an element of a “conservation curtain that is being hidden behind”. He said that the release of farmed turtles could be introducing disease to wild turtle populations. Watch video and comment on CNS Business

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Met back behind Bridger

| 06/08/2014 | 48 Comments

(CNS): The former employers of the SIO on the ill-fated Operation Tempura police corruption probe have signalled their renewed support of their ex-top cop. In what is perhaps the first indication that the Metropolitan Police has concerns about the ongoing cover-up of elements of the investigation conducted by Martin Bridger between 2007 and 2009, the London police force has suddenly turned the cash back on for his protracted legal battles with both the Cayman government and the former police commissioner, Stuart Kernohan. The cash flow returnsjust as the RCIPS said they are investigating Bridger and his allegations and as Cayman waits to see if the governor's office will finally release documents relating to the enquiry after fighting tooth and nail to keep them secret.

The governor's office remains tight lipped in the face of the latest order by the acting information commissioner to release the documents which were the subject of a freedom of information request, but there are now only a few weeks remaining before, in accordance with the law, the UK's representative must release the papers or take the ICO back to court for another costly judicial review.

Bridger is now reportedly the subject of an RCIPS probe into allegations he made to the Metropolitan Police about how he, and in turn Scotland Yard, may have been grossly mislead by Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, the FCO's Security Advisor for the overseas territories, Larry Covington, and then governor Stuart Jack. However, Bridger has now got the backing of his former bosses in yet another strange twist in the ongoing saga of Operation Tempura.

Sources close to the issue who cannot yet be named have confirmed that as much as $300,000 of UK tax payers’ money has been made available to Bridger to pay outstanding costs relating to his fight so far but also to use in his fight to expose damning documents that he wants to use in his defence against a law suit filed by Kernohan. The Met's sudden support of Bridger is a clear indication not just of their obligation to him as an employee at the time but also that the leading UK police service could have concerns about how the probe has been handled by the FCO.

During the lifetime of the discredited operation, which has cost the Cayman tax payer millions without a single successful prosecution, Bridger has persistently claimed to have acted in good faith and entirely on the advice of legal counsel provided by the attorney general or governor's office. He has stated publicly that he documented every twist and turn of the probe, which went from the clearance of allegations of corruption of one leading police officer to the suspension of three others and the unchallenged finding of an unlawful arrest of a Grand Court judge.

However, some of these documents generated by Bridger during Tempura are subject to a court order and he has been banned from using them to justify his claims or defend himself in the ongoing law suit with Kernohan.

During the course of the enquiry, Bridger, who arrived while employed directly by the Metropolitan Police, reached his retirement age and as a result he was re-contracted via the governor's office. But trusted sources have also told CNS that Scotland Yard continued to supervise the probe indirectly with the controversial John Yates remaining as the overall boss of the operation. As a result, CNS has learned the UK cops continue to have an obligation to Bridger to support him through the courts with regard to work he did under the Met's supervision.

However, the London force abandoned Bridger about two years ago and, according to sources, "left Bridger out to dry" but have suddenly done an about face and refunded the former officer's legal fights.

Bridger, who has been banned from talking about his complaint and the subsequent decision by Duncan Taylor that it was unfounded, recently told CNS that it is still difficult for him to talk openly about many aspects of the probe, something he would dearly love to do, but he said that his main hope is that the full truth of what happened during this much maligned investigation will eventually come out. He said, "When the people of the Cayman Islands know the full and complete truth, they can then make a fair decision about what I did and judge me accordingly," he stated.

Pressing for the whole truth, Bridger said he was hopeful that the report based on his complaint will be released in the coming weeks as that, he said, willreveal some important parts of the wider jigsaw that is Operation Tempura. However, he said, there is still much more that needs to be revealed and when he is able lawfully to tell his story, Bridger has stated he would be happy to come to Cayman and do so. He said the Caymanian people have a right to know the details of what happened and the reasons why certain decisions were made, based on what advice and by whom.

Although the complaint, which remains the subject of the FOI battle with the ICO and the governor's office, was originally made by Martin Polaine, a former legal advisor on the probe, when he withdrew Bridger carried on with the complaint. When the report into the complaint was concluded and he governor made a decision, Bridger was told he could only see the content of the report if he agreed to maintain confidentiality.

Since the fight to keep this report under wraps has been underway, Kernohan has settled with the Cayman Islands Government over his alleged unlawfuldismissal during Tempura. He has now also been silenced as a result of a payout estimated to be in the region of $600,000 and paid for by the Cayman tax payer.

However, there remains numerous unanswered questions over the probe, which has been the subject of allegations and counter allegations. As the twists and turns in the fallout from Tempura continue, all eyes remain on the governor's office and the possible release of what are believed to be damning documents concerning the oversight and mismanagement of the probe as well as who advised who about what.

If the documents are released, the Cayman public may begin to see at least some of the real Tempura picture, though by no means all of it. If, however, the governor decides the documents cannot be released into the public domain, the Cayman tax payer will once again be footing the bill to help the governor's office, and by extension the FCO, cover-up whatever it is they don't want the public to know.

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Brandyn Murray trains with elite in Germany

| 06/08/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Over the summer, twenty-year old college sophomore Brandyn Murray had the unique opportunity to train with a number of professional and semi-professional football teams in Germany and England. The trip was made possible with the financial support from Grasspiece Promotions and a number of local companies and individuals. Brandyn’s preparations included several early morning training sessions at the Annex Field and numerous beach sessions with former Cayman internationals Lee Ramoon and Colin “Dougie” Rowe. In June, Brandyn spent one week with FC Augsburg’s Under 23 team in Augsburg and four days with SV Pullach in Munich.

FC Augsburg play in Bundesliga 1 and their Under 23 team participate in the German fourth division (Regionalliga Bayern). SV Pullach compete in the Bayern League South, Circle Class (equivalent to Division 5).

At FC Augsburg, under the tutelage of Under 23 head coach Dieter Märkle and assistant coach Oliver Beer, Brandyn enjoyed five days of high-intensity training at the FC Augsburg Youth Facility.

As the squad was already in their second week of pre-season training, the sessions were very technical and physically demanding and Brandyn took a few days to adapt to the speed of German football. By the second day, young Murray had adjusted his game and adapted quite comfortably in meshing with the rest of the squad.

He was exposed to a number of technical drills involving quick passing, ball control, positional play, possession and movements without the ball mixed in with weight training, calisthenics and yoga.

At SV Pullach, under head trainer Frank Schmöller, Brandyn trained for four days with the semi-pro outfit before heading over to England on July 3.The training in Germany was arranged through Joseph Albersinger, a former resident of the Cayman Islands, who returned to Germany 12 years ago to complete his UEFA coaching licences. Once a member of the historic Strikers Football Club in the Cayman Islands, Albersinger has coached a number of youth teams in the German professional leagues and was most recently a youth coach at FC Ingolstadt, a Bundesliga 2 club.

In England, Brandyn was based in Swindon and travelled to Macclesfield Town FC in Macclesfield, just south of Manchester. Macclesfield Town play in the Conference Premier, one tier down from League Two and is managed by John Askey.

Brandyn spent two weeks with the Silkmen along with several other triallists and quickly learned that at this level, unlike Germany, it is very physical. The training experience in England was arranged through Fitzroy Simpson, who is responsible for the placement of the three Caymanian youngsters at Swindon Town FC’s Youth Academy and one Caymanian youngster at Reading FC’s Youth Academy. Simpson has been instrumental in developing the relationship between the Swindon Town FC Youth Academy and the football
fraternity in the Cayman Islands through Grasspiece Promotions. 

Commenting on his European experience, Brandyn said, “It was an awesome experience, especially in Germany where I felt more comfortable with the style of football FC Augsburg and SV Pullach play. I am small in stature and prefer the technical aspect of football where I can use my passing and speed rather than my physical attributes. The reviews and comments I received from the coaches in Germany were positive so I hope to return to Germany next summer to secure a few try-outs. We’ll see what happens.”

He added, “Special thanks to the individuals and companies who helped finance my trip and to those persons who supported my efforts. Thanks to Mr. Albersinger and Mr. Simpson who were instrumental in securing these valuable training opportunities for me and who made my stay in Germany and England enjoyable and comfortable. Thanks also to Coach Lee (Ramoon) and Coach Dougie (Colin Rowe) for their efforts in preparing me for my trip.”

As Brandyn alluded to, plans are already underway for him to return to Germany next summer for try-outs following the completion of his sophomore year at college.

Photo: Brandyn Murray (left) with FC Augsburg Under 23 head coach Dieter Markle.

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AG’s outside lawyers costly

| 06/08/2014 | 20 Comments

(CNS): Although both the Attorney General's Chambers and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) have an army of lawyers commanding some of the highest salaries in government, the two offices are spending as much as a half million dollars a year instructing overseas counsel. According to a freedom of information request about the travel expenses for both the public prosecutor and government's lawyer and their offices, one of the biggest tabs for both these chambers is the employment of overseas counsel for civil and criminal cases. While the ODPP usually pays legal aid rates when they instruct overseas lawyers for major criminal cases, lawyers instructed by the AG appear to be even more costly to the local taxpayer.

The records show that last year the DPP spent over $170,000 on barristers, usually British, to represent the crown in seven serious prosecutions. Despite the significant salaries of the DPP and her deputy, who are both Queen's Counsel, the office is still spending cash employing costly overseas counsel to lead the crown's cases.

Meanwhile, the Attorney General's Chambers, which are no longer involved in criminal cases and now only appear in court in order to defend government, also spent almost $350,000 on overseas lawyers last year to represent the government in civil cases, despite the salaries of both the attorney general and the solicitor general, as well as their collection of well paid lawyers. A previous FOI request recently revealed that the AG earns over $150,000 per annum and the solicitor general between $120,000 and $150,000, with another two lawyers earning over $100,000.

The attorney general took seven overseas trips last year, though the FOI did not specify where or why, spending some $55,000 compared to $28,000 spent on four trips in 2012. However in 2011 the AG took six official overseas trips and spent $65,000.

See details below of DPP and AG's spending on overseas counsel and travel as well as the breakdown of salaries in the AG's office.

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Cops warn public to remain vigilant as thefts increase

| 06/08/2014 | 18 Comments

(CNS): Following the recent revelations that the theft has increased in the first half of this year more than 80% compared to the first six months of 2013, the RCIPS is urging people to be more vigilant over their homes, businesses and property. Although serious crime fell marginally in the first part of 2014 compared to last year, the boom in thievery pushed the overall crime rate up by more than27%. While the fall in burglaries was welcomed by the police as that remains a specific concern for the wider public, the increase in theft will require extra vigilance, the police said.

"The RCIPS continues to urge the public to do what they can to help by ensuring vehicles, boats, sheds and yards are kept secure and items such as cameras, computers and phones are kept out of view and locked away," an RCIPS spokesperson stated, as he warned people to take care when parking their cars. "Wherever possible leave it in an area that is well lit and away from anywhere a potential thief could hide."

The police also asked people to report anyone acting suspiciously in their communities and neighbourhoods.

If any member of the public would like to receive further crime prevention advice, they are asked to contact their local police station where they will be put in touch with the neighbourhood officer.

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