Senior cop says legislation needed to protect witnesses

| 18/12/2009

Cayman Islands News, Cayman Islands police news(CNS): The issue of reluctant witnesses continues to be a major stumbling block in the fight against crime in the Cayman Islands. Detective Chief Inspector Peter Kennett from the RCIPS says no witnesses are coming forward in the murder of Carlo Webster, who was shot in the head in a crowded night club. News 27 reports that Kennett says the country needs legislation to protect witnesses who are afraid of coming forward to give evidence but could help solve crime and put perpetrators behind bars. Webster was shot to death in the Next Level night club in front of a reported 150 people.

It’s been 3-months since the shooting and three people were arrested, but no charges were laid. In a statement to News 27, Kennett said witnesses are just not coming forward.  He thinks the situation would be different if there was legislation guaranteeing the protection of witnesses.

Kennett also says the Cayman Islands are facing an increase in the reluctance of people who are not prepared to give evidence and support justice. Without the help of the public, it is very difficult to solve crime.

 There have already been a number of reports of witness intimidation in the case against the three men charged with killing Omar Samuels in George Town in July, the murder that triggered the gangland style tit-for-tat  killings of Webster, Marcus Ebanks in West Bay and Fabian Ried in Newlands .

 Police say they are still investigating the murder of Webster and the other victims and are asking anyone who can give information to come forward.

Go to news 27 video

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  1. anonymous says:

    If witnesses could be flown somewhere else (Miami/Tampa?) to provide their sworn statement and if their identities in court could be protected (judge’s eyes only) and remain anonymous to jurors and public courtroom, perhaps then there might be more people stepping forward on many issues without fear of reprisals.  At the very least, Police might have more valid leads to pursue.     

    • anonymous says:

      Witnesses protection?

      Fly out? Agood Idea. Govt.must pay the fare and then let the guilty killers pay and compensate government with time in Prison and money out of pocket.

      its a good idea. But this is a sort of witness protection field that the highly escalated rate of crime is taking this country.  it is a crying shame that the criiminals in the Cayman Islands have the people as scared as the people in Mexico and Columbia of the drug lords. This is serious. Is anyone investigating wo these troublemakers are and weeding them out of our society?

      If the citizens are this scared of the gun toating criminals and killers then the Police are also scared themselves. Somthing is very wrong. There needs to be a review of how the citizens will combat crime in the country. the church Leaders and the people must meet and take the country back from the devil. I can’t believe that this has happened. I believe that one contributing factor is a break down in police performance through no fault of their own but because of the pressure of operation tempura and other investigations that drain the vary substance out of them weakening their effectiveness and even their desire to combat crimes. In other words the investigations have made our police too weak to fight crime because they have to fight for their very own survival especially the Cayman Police. So who is going to watch their back for them, all these investigations leading no where need to stop and New standards set and give the RCIP a fresh start because so far nothing is being accomplished. If the public will not give their own Cayman police information where did the governor get the idea from that they will give English police information who they do not even know?  nonsense.

      Scrap the investigations, protect the country, and start catching criminals instead of ambushing and trying to catch the police the police.

  2. Forrest Gump says:

    The AG, to this day, STILL has ARMED police officers acting as bodyguards 24/7

  3. Anonymous says:

    Can anyone say how long the Attorney General or Chief Justice et. etc.  had Body-guards to protect them? Is this still going on? Instead of Police doing their normal duties for the whole island they had to use their time to protect these officials. Who do we have to prtoect us??  

  4. Anonymous says:

    No witnesses???? I thought there were cameras inside and out?  I thought there was "plenty" of security who if paying attention would have seen what happened?????  Oh wait, if they were doing their job and searching the people properly maybe they wouldn’t have gotten a firearm in the club.  Someone didn’t do their job….

  5. John Evans says:

    Sorry, Peter but you need to do a lot more than that to make this work.

    While potential witnesses still believe, rightly or wrongly, that nothing they tell the RCIPS is held in confidence and their details will be revealed to the people they are identifying even before any charges are brought you are going to struggle to get information.

    Many people still remember the death of ‘Sammy’ Dofredo just days before the was due to testify in court and the half-hearted attempts by the RCIPS to investigate the incident.

    It also doesn’t help when someone who came forward to assist the police in a major investigation ends up charged with numerous criminal offences and put through the ordeal of a Grand Court trial only to be found to be completely innocent of the charges.

    As a ‘victim’ of lax Caymanian rules on revelation of witness details and the unfettered publication of material that was sub judice I think the first step needs to a visible beefing up of enforcement of the rules relating to unauthorised release of evidence to parties outside the RCIPS – and that means bringing some of those responsible to court and, if convicted, putting them in prison. 

  6. Anonymous says:

    O.K. let me get this straight,"Witness protection ",in the Cayman Islands.Let me think how that could be accomplished.

    1.Woody Foster could hire a new clown,nobody would recognise you

    2.Put on overalls and work at Mt .Trashmore XXXXXXX

    3.Work at the turtle farm.nobody goes there since they took away Joey’s bar tabs

    4.Work as Big Mac’s travel assistant.Your only only on the island 2 1/2 months a year

    There must be many more ways to be not recognised in the Cayman Islands



  7. Anonymous says:

    Both the Attorney General and chief Justice appeared  to be asleep for some time now.

  8. Tell da truth says:

    This is another obvious part of the mother country’s plan to destabilize the Cayman Islands.

    • Lachlan MacTavish says:

       "Tell da truth"    10:32



      • Da Whole Truth says:

        "Lachlan MacTavish"  12:41



        • Anonymous says:

          Da whole truth:

          You have the intellectual capacity of ‘tell da truth".

          That’s not a compliment, just thought I would let you know since you probably can’t figure that out for yourself.

          • Tell da truth says:

            I have exceptional intellectual capacity.  I just prefer sarcasm because it confuses the great unwashed and gets the point over more quickly.

    • Anonymous says:

      Tell da Truth:

      What utter stupidity, for God in Heaven’s sake.

  9. Peter Milburn says:

    I would like to support Inspector Kennetts plea for legislation to protect witnesses.It is probably the only way that anyone will(may)come forward to help the police in their difficult job of solving all these recent crimes.The public has a responsibilty and moral obligation to do just that.I urge our get on with this request as our crime wave is taking on epic proportions and will soon spill over to our visitors and it will then only get worse before it gets better.Look at what has happened in Nassau just recently with Carnival Cruise pulling out til they get crime under control.We cannot afford to damage our tourism product any further.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The Attorney General appears to be asleep at the wheel for the last 5 years or so.  Here is what he sated in 2004 after witnesses were killed.  Are you telling me that the government, especially the Attorney General, couldn’t have done more to prevent the problems it is having today?   Oh, I forgot, he was too busy trying to secure a status grant for himself.


    The Attorney General reported that in March of 2004 the Evidence Law was amended to allow testimony given by a witness to police to be used at the trial, regardless of whether a witness is injured or killed in the time between testimony to police and the trial. This option will also be available for witnesses who have left the Island and a new provision in this new law allows for a witness to testify via video link form abroad.

    Of these measures concerning witnesses, Mr Bulgin said: “These measures are designed to, amongst other things, remove any incentive for wanting to kill, or injure, a witness, before the trial takes place, or to frighten the witness away from the Islands in order to prevent them from testifying.”

    Mr Bulgin mentioned that these measures are critical for in recent times witnesses for upcoming trials have been targeted, as in the case of Franklin Lake who was shot and killed, and in the case last week where a witness was shot and injured. “The government is under an obligation to provide the necessary guarantee to those willing to come forward as witnesses or informers,” Mr Bulgin said.

    Mr Bulgin also spoke of government interest in a Witness Protection Programme. He described the recent promulgation of the amended Penal Code which provides a ‘Two strikes and you are out’ provision which allows for the Grand Court to sentence a repeat violator of a category ‘A’ offence to be sentenced to life imprisonment, and the recent Cabinet initiative providing for funds to establish a DNA lab at the George Town Hospital."



  11. Expat 1882 says:

    "…the country needs legislation to protect witnesses who are afraid of coming forward to give evidence but could help solve crime and punt perpetrators behind bars…"

    Ya think??  Maybe the rest of the civilized world should be told of this wonderful new idea!