Jury hung in Bodden trial

| 25/03/2010

Cayman Islandes News, Grand Cayman headline news, Cayman courts(CNS): Justice Howard Cooke has ordered a re-trial in the case of Cassandra Bodden and the charges against her for the importation of firearms and ammunition. This afternoon the judge ruled a mistrial when the jury of four men and three women could not agree on a verdict. Despite the judge’s directions for the members to attempt to reach a majority verdict of five to two if they could not reach a unanimous decision, at around 3:30 pm, after deliberating for about four hours, the foreman told the court that they could not get past their four-three split and would not be able to reach a verdict. As a result Bodden will now face a new trial once a listing date has been agreed. (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

The jury were sent to deliberate this morning following a summation by Justice Cooke in which he summed up the two cases as presented before the court by prosecution and defence counsel, as well as directions regarding the law.

The jury was, however, hung and as a result Bodden was granted bail and bound over to appear before Justice Cooke on Friday morning for mention and a new listing date for a second trial for the same charges.

Bodden has been accused of importing four handguns and ammunition, which were concealed inside a toy car. While the crown’s case is that Bodden knew about the contents of the package and claimed ignorance in the lead up to the package being examined to cover her tracks, the defence has said that Bodden did not know and made it abundantly clear she did not know, having revealed that she was not expecting the package to a number of law enforcement authorities.

When Bodden went to clear the package through a local shipping agent and customs, she did so in the accompaniment of a police officer. Defence counsel Ben Tonner has throughout the case claimed that his client should never have been charged as she simply did not know about the guns and had alerted the authorities on several occasions to the fact that she was not expecting anything from the United States, which is where the package originated.

During the trial Tonner said that the arrest and charges against Bodden sent a terrible message to the community that by being honest people could find themselves in the same position — in court facing a risk to their liberty.

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