Archive for November 27th, 2014

Sex offenders jail terms stick following appeals

| 27/11/2014 | 8 Comments

(CNS): Two men both serving similar prison terms for sex offences will continue to serve the sentences handed down to them by Grand Court judges after the appeal court upheld their sentences last week. A local sports coach, who cannot be named for legal reasons, convicted earlier this year of having sex with a 13 year old girl when he was 29, was told that his sentence of 4 years and 8 months, despite being a first offence, was not manifestly excessive. While the term of five years and four months given to Randy McLean, who was 30 when convicted of having sex with a 15 year old girl, was also seen as appropriate as it was his second offence for having sex with underage girls.

The appeal court heard the arguments for a reduction in both men’s sentences at the same, even though they were two very separate offences, as the judges considered that the same points were at issue. Both men were a similar age at the time of their offences and their victims were teenagers. Both of the girls involved had been described in the court as willing participants but both were under the age of consent. The main aggravating factor in McLean’s case was the repeat offending, while the sport coach’s case was aggravated by the breach of his position of trust.

However, despite the efforts of their attorneys, the appeal court was satisfied that the judges in both case had considered all of the elements and had arrived at the right decisions.

 

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Local officials meet regional health boss on Ebola

| 27/11/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Although there are no reported cases of Ebola in Cayman Islands or anywhere in the Caribbean, local medical personnel and the health ministry said they are continuing preparations for the unlikely event of an Ebola (EVD) patient arriving in Cayman. Dr James Hospedales, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), met with the health minister, Osbourne Bodden and members of the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority senior management team on 22 November to review the preparedness plans.  “Though we have not had a case, we cannot be complacent,” said Dr Hospedales.

“We must take measures to strengthen individual national and regional preparedness, which will also serve us to face future threats beyond Ebola….I am pleased with the preparedness plans Cayman Islands has put in place for quarantine, isolation and management to be ready to meet the challenge, in the unlikely event of a case being imported.”

Here have been only a handful of visitors to the Caribbean during the past five years from the most affected countries, particularly Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone and the chances of importation of cases from that region are remote. However, the recent incident involving a US health care worker who had, had contact with an Ebola patient who took a Caribbean

cruise, demonstrated how easily the virus could be spared almost anywhere in the world.
However, the investment required to be fully prepared for what is still a remote but very dangerous possibility can be significant and Cayman has already allocated some $3million to ensure that should an infected person arrive here, officials can contain and treat the patient.

Dr Hospedales noted the problem faced by small nations when it comes to preparations for the arrival of a contagious patient of such a deadly disease.

“As it is very difficult for small nations to be fully prepared, CARPHA is working towards the development of a Regional Coordinating Mechanism for Ebola, the establishment of which was mandated by a Special Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Port of Spain on November 4th, 2014.”

Bodden said he was satisfied with the preparedness measures undertaken and assured the public that the funds approved will be used diligently. Thanking Dr Hospedales for his words of encouragement Bodden noted the available regional support should the need arise. While government is taking appropriate measures, he urged the residents not to travel to West Africa unless it is absolutely necessary.

A total of 15351 cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been reported across six countries (Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Sierra Leone, Spain and the United States of America) and two previously affected countries (Nigeria, Senegal) up to the end of November 18, 2014.  This is the largest and longest ever outbreak of the disease.

There have been 5459 reported deaths. A total of 588 health-care workers (HCWs) are known to have been infected with EVD, and 337 HCWs have died.  The outbreaks of EVD in Democratic Republic of Congo, Senegal and Nigeria were declared over.

There have been 4 cases and 1 death in the United States of America.  All patients have been discharged from hospital, and all contacts in the country have completed the 21-day follow-up period. 

Although there is only limited treatment for the deadly haemorrhagic virus, recent human trials of a new vaccine are said to be showing promise according to the latest international reports.

The Ebola virus is transmitted through direct contact with the blood or body fluids such as saliva, mucus, vomit, urine or faeces of an Ebola Virus Disease infected person (alive or dead).  Officials say that people with the virus who symptom free cannot transmit Ebola. Any person who has travelled to, from, or through Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone or Mali within 21 days of planned arrival in the Cayman Islands will be subjected to health screening and quarantine measures on their arrival.

The team that met Dr James Hospedales included Osbourne Bodden, Minister of Health; and the Health Services Authority Senior Management Team: Lizzette Yearwood, Chief Executive Officer; Dr Delroy Jefferson, Medical Director; Dr Kiran Kumar, Medical Officer of Health; Hazel Brown, Chief Nursing Officer; and Andria Dilbert, Director of Corporate Services.

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Police charge North Side burglary suspect

| 27/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Detectives from the Bodden Town police station have charged a 32 year old man with burglary following his arrest earlier this week in the wake of a house break-in on Monday in the district of North Side. The man who is resident of the district is expected to appear in summary court Friday in connection with the burglary. Although the numbers of both commercial and residential burglaries are causing concern across Grand Cayman, North Side endures a significant number of burglaries at the many tourist condos in the district.

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4yrs for road racing death

| 27/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A 24-year-old George Town man was jailed for four years Wednesday for causing the death of his close friend, Zak Quappe (21) in a major road collision last year. Igor Domladis pleaded guilty to death by dangerous driving when he admitted racing with Quappe along South Church Street as they headed home after a night out. The court heard the drivers were both doing over 60mph when the crash happened, described by the judge as “excessive speed”. Domladis, who was driving his father’s Mitsubishi Lancer, had tried to overtake Quappe, who was driving a Ford Taurus, but both drivers lost control as they took a left hand bend. While Domladis walked away with minor injuries, Quappe was killed on impact.

With a number of aggravating factors in the case, the judge passed a six year sentence, which he reduce to four years for Domladis' admission of guilt.

The smash happened in the early morning hours of18 May 2013. Although there was some dispute between the crown’s accident reconstruction expert and the report tended by a defence expert, the two sides agreed that which car had collided with which first was less relevant as both of the young drivers were racing for more than a half mile. The judge had stated that the “furious and wanton driving” by both the young men had contributed to Quappe’s death.

Justice Malcom Swift, who sentenced the young driver, noted a number of aggravating factors in the case: that Domladis had shown a “flagrant disregard” for the potential danger and that other innocent bystanders could have been killed.

He said that Domladis had been drinking but had refused to give a sample in the immediate wake of the smash and had not done so until some ten hours later when alcohol had still been present in his blood. The court also heard that Domladis’ driver’s license had expired some six weeks before the crash and the car did not have a valid inspection certificate as that had also expired a few weeks before. The roadworthiness of the vehicle was not considered a contributing factor to the smash, however, which the court found was down to the speed and the competitive driving of the young men.

The court heard that as a result of the smash a passenger travelling with Domladis had also suffered a serious injury and there was considerable damage to other parked vehicles as the two cars spun out of control, hitting a light pole, a concrete post and concrete walls. The judge said the young man was “no stranger to speeding” as he had received two speeding tickets in his first year of driving.

The judge also noted a number of mitigating features, including the significant remorse that Domladis had shown over losing his closest friend and the fact that both men were culpable, as they were racing and showing off. Justice Swift described the attitude of Quappe’s family to the incident as both “generous and very reasonable”, as they acknowledged that both families of the young men in this smash had suffered a devastating tragedy.

The court heard that Domladis, a university graduate, is a high academic achiever and was planning to do post graduate studies in education policy until this incident derailed his future plans. Nevertheless, defence attorney Ben Tonner said his client would do what he could to use his time in jail wisely until his release, when he still hopes to pursue a career in education.

The court also ordered a five year driving ban to commence on his release from jail and he will be required to sit a driver’s test before ever being granted a new licence.

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CIG heads to London for annual territories meeting

| 27/11/2014 | 11 Comments

(CNS): Premier Alden McLaughlin will lead a delegation of five people from the Cayman government, accompanied by Governor Helen Kilpatrick, to London tomorrow for the annual Overseas Territories Joint Ministerial Council (JMC). Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton, Senior Political Advisor Roy Tatum, Cabinet Secretary Samuel Rose, Home Affairs Ministry Chief Officer Eric Bushand this year’s JMC Sherpa, Jason Webster, will join the premier for the meetings to discuss political and constitutional issues between the governments of the Territories and the UK Government. It is the first time that McLaughlin will meet the latest OT minister, James Duddridge, who was appointed after Mark Simmonds announced he was leaving politics because of the poor pay.

Duddridge wrote to McLaughlin this week confirming that he would be watching carefully the progression being made on restoring the local public finances after government sent the FCO junior minister the Strategic Policy Statement in the Legislative Assembly on Wednesday.

In addition to public finances, the OT leaders and UK officials will discuss strategies for promoting the security and good governance of all Overseas Territories as well as economic diversification, attracting investment, vocational education and employment. They will also review and implement strategy and commitments in the 2012 White Paper ‘The Overseas Territories: Security, Success and Sustainability’.

“It is vitally important that we attend the JMC each year to keep the Cayman Islands in the forefront. Through our participation we can ensure that Cayman remains in the global spotlight and continues to build sustainable economies, create jobs and drive prosperity,” said the premier. “Once we do these things, we can ensure a better quality of life for our citizens and visitors.”

On Saturday, 29 November, McLaughlin will host a reception for Cayman students who are studying in the UK. And on 4 December he will host an invitation-only dinner for the Friends of Cayman, where he will deliver a speech and answer questions.

The CIG delegation returns to Cayman on Friday, 5 December.

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Father of three freed by court of appeal

| 27/11/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A West Bay man who had been jailed for four years after he had been convicted of shooting at another man over a missing cap, has been acquitted by the court of appeal, largely as a result of the contradictory evidence given at trial. Shane Bodden a father of three walked free last week when the high court quashed the conviction which they said was not safe and overturned the jail term which was handed down by a visiting judge in February this year. Meanwhile, Nik Kerr who had pleaded guilty to wounding and received a five year sentence managed to get that jail time cut to four, after arguing on his own behalf, that the judge had not taken into consideration all of the mitigating factors in his case.

Bodden who was represented by Fiona Robertson, from Samson McGrath had been found guilty of possession of an imitation firearm as the police never recovered the gun that Bodden was alleged to have used or found any casings at the scene. A slight abrasion sustained by the victim was not confirmed as a bullet wound, so Bodden escaped what would have been a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years for possession of the weapon at the time.

Justice Carol Beswick had believed the witness, who said Bodden shot at him but he was able to duck the bullet, despite some significant inconsistencies. She had handed Bodden the lengthy jail term not least because of his rap sheet, as she said he seemed “determined to pursue a criminal career”.

 

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Organisers brag of largest ever health conference

| 27/11/2014 | 4 Comments

(CNS): With some 850 delegates, 50 sponsors and 40 exhibitors, this year’s national Healthcare Conference was the largest since the annual event began five years ago. Organisers Tower marketing said the key to the success of the Healthcare Conference is the objective to make real and tangible differences in the health and wellness of the people of the Cayman Islands. Focusing on non-communicable diseases and helping to educate people to healthier lifestyles the health minister Osbourne Bodden said government is committed to helping improve health and the conference does much to educate and inform attendees on the many different ways in which they can make improvements. During his speech the minister urged people to make the most of the free advice to reduce their risks of getting sick.

“Many Caymanians are leading unhealthy lifestyles – we smoke, we are overweight and sometimes even obese and we are not getting our five-a-day recommended amount of fruit and vegetables,” he warned. Bodden had also talked about taking drastic measure to address the problem of many people continuing to smoke in Cayman despite the introduction of a smoking ban in public places and the high taxes on tobacco products. He said that it maybe that Cayman should consider becoming a smoke free environment. (Vote in the CNS poll).

“It is our goal to ensure that this conference is as informative and educational as possible, not only for the medical community, but for the general public as well.  CNCDs are diseases that are often preventable and, because of this, we are encouraging people to take charge of their lives, and learn about how to live a healthy lifestyle.”

He urged delegates not to just sit and listen but to ask questions, interact with others and gain knowledge and ideas that would improve their health

Tower’s Managing Director Lynne Byles said the 2014 conference this year’s event welcomed eight international and two local speakers with four separate workshops with 24 panellists in total. “Each workshop hosted between 35-80 delegates – an impressive turnout,” she said. “While the conference is a forum for education and information sharing, we have always made it our number one goal to include workshops and breakout sessions that result in recommendations and outputs that are presented to government in order that they can include feedback from the community in their planning.”

After last year’s conference Tower polled delegates to ask if they had made any health improvements since attending the 2013 conference. “The conference planning committee were impressed by the number of respondents to the survey who indicated their health and that of their families had been given a boost thanks to them attending last year’s conference.”

In addition to being event managers of the conference, Tower was also a premium sponsor.

“We believe in value of the conference and are proud to be a premium sponsor,” Byles said. “Tower has been at the forefront of healthcare communications in the Cayman Islands for the past years 15 years, working with a wide range of clients in government, industry, professional associations, corporations, non-governmental and non-profit organisations, this sponsorship is an obvious fit for us,” she added.
 

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