Archive for December 11th, 2014

Cayman says no to public access on ownership

| 11/12/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS Business): The Cayman government, along with other affected British territories, has refused to introduce a centralised beneficial ownership register with public access. Premier Alden McLaughlin said Monday that he and Financial Services Minister Wayne Panton, with the support of other territory leaders, stood firm last week in London when on the last day of the Joint Ministerial Council the UK attempted to make the overseas territories and crown dependencies agree to introduce such a register, which would eventually be made public. Read more on CNS Business

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Public also nabbed NYD robbers

| 11/12/2014 | 20 Comments

(CNS): Three members of the public were instrumental in catching the robbers in the now infamous New Year’s Day heist at Diamonds International and were injured for their trouble. Although it was widely publicised that the police commissioner had chased down the fleeing jewel thieves in his Chevy Trailblazer, it wasn’t until the sentencing hearing for the convicted men on Wednesday that the part played by others, who ran after the robbers and literally wrestled with them to prevent their escape, was revealed. The facts of the case against Christopher Myles,James McLean, Jonathan Ramoon and a fourth unknown man were laid out by the  director of public prosecutions (DPP) before Justice Charles Quin, who is now considering their fate.

DPP Cheryl Richards QC the told the court that Myles, McLean and Ramoon were part of a joint enterprise with one other man, who has not been identified or caught.

The daylight robbery of the jewellery store, located in the heart of the downtown tourist district, happened just after the store opened and as passengers from the many cruise ships at port that day were moving around the area. The store was also full of staff as a result of the busy holiday, two of whom were pregnant at the time. The victim impact statements revealed that everyone was terrified during the ordeal, which lasted for one minute and 26 seconds.

Three masked men entered the store in quick succession, including Ramoon and McLean, and stole more than US$800,000 worth of jewellery.

Ramoon, carrying the gun, was the first robber in the store. He pointed the weapon at a security guard’s chest and told him to get on the ground and then dragged him further into the store. Immediately behind him came the unidentified man, who was carrying a large yellow bag which was later used for the jewels. McLean came in behind him with a hammer and proceeded to smash all of the display cabinets. The unnamed robber then grabbed the jewels before all three fled to the getaway vehicle being driven by Myles.

However, the daring daylight heist was spotted by several people and two men in the vicinity at the time as well as a security guard all went after the robbers. Police Commissioner David Baines, by coincidence it is said by the authorities, was also in the area at the time. He was off duty and in his own car waiting to meet a friend from a cruise ship. He was alerted to the robbery by the screams and, seeing the fleeing suspects and people chasing them, he went after the getaway car and crashed into the vehicle.

But as the four robbers bailed out their car and tried to flee on foot, the members of the public and the security guards giving chase continued their pursuit of the men. Despite being injured as they were punched and kicked by the robbers, they held on and prevented their escape.

The commissioner, who remained in his car, then drove at the robbers, mowing down Ramoon, who received multiple serious injuries as a result. Baines was later cleared of using excessive force following an internal investigation headed by an as yet unnamed member of the RCIPS.

Although the fleeing robbers were chased by the commissioner in his car, one still got away and took with him three diamond rings, which have never been recovered, worth around $3,000.

The yellow bag containing the rest of the jewels, however, was dropped and the luxury items returned to Diamonds International. The hammer was also recovered, along with a firearm, which was found to be loaded and later tested by an expert, who confirmed it was a lethal-barrelled weapon.

The three men, who were all arrested, admitted their part in the crime from the beginning, though Ramoon was taken directly to hospital, where he was treated for a broken leg, a broken hip, a broken arm and serious internal injuries, before he could be interviewed.

However, it has taken almost twelve months for the case to come before a judge for sentencing as a result of problems with defence attorneys, the extensive injuries of Ramoon and lengthy discussions  between the crown and the defence attorneys about Myles, who had insisted he knew nothing about the gun. That issue was eventually settled when McLean confirmed in writing that Myles did not know that Ramoon had a firearm and he too only knew about the weapon when it was produced as the robbery began and had no idea it was loaded.

The crown then accepted Myles’ guilty plea to the robbery and dropped their pursuit of the firearms charge against him.However, both Ramoon and McLean pleaded guilty to robbery as well as to possession of an unlicensed firearm. They are now both facing a minimum sentence of seven years.

Although all three men have some criminal history, only Ramoon has a previous firearms offence. McLean, who is only 23, had the cleanest record with just ganja offences. His defence attorney, Nick Hoffman, argued hard that his young client was turning his life around in prison and had shown significant remorse as he wrestled with a serious cocaine addiction which had led him to become involved in the robbery.

Of the three guilty men, Hoffman argued, his client was young, vulnerable and easily led. Even the best case scenario for him was seven years in prison, a third of his life, Hoffman said, as he urged the judge not to exceed that minimum sentence.

All three men wrote letters to the court apologising to the public for what they did and acknowledging their culpability in the crime. The social enquiry reports said the men had shown remorse and deeply regretted their involvement. The court heard they were attempting to make the most of their time behind bars and during their year on remand had already been involved in rehabilitation programmes, including those for drug and alcohol dependency in an effort to turn their lives around.

Although the crown had described the daylight hold-up as a professional commercial robbery, the defence attorneys all argued differently, describing the crime as an unsophisticated plan hatched during a drink and drug fuelled binge session, described by one lawyer as a “bender” on the night before the hold up. The lawyers said their clients were not hardened criminals but men who had made the worst and most stupid mistakes of their lives, for which they knew they would all have to pay the price.

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