Catron beats crown again

| 29/07/2010

(CNS): Local activist Sandra Catron has once again faced down the power of the state in a court of law and had another case against her thrown out. The former political candidate for Bodden Town and one time radio talk show host was facing charges of theft and damage to property, over a lease dispute but her case was dismissed by the chief magistrate after Catron’s no case submission. Although Catron is not a qualified lawyer this is the second time she has taken on crown counsel without representation and the second time that she has had the prosecution case against her overturned. Catron said she was absolutely delighted that finally her cases were all over.(Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

 
“I am elated that I can finally put all these ridiculous charges behind me and move on to more positive things with my life,” Catron told CNS. “I am so happy it is over as while I knew there was no merit in the crown’s case it is still extremely stressful to have to deal with court procedures alone.”
 
She also said she was really pleased that the judge saw there was no case to answer and that the courts time and public money was not wasted anymore than it already had been.
 
In this case Catron explained that her former commercial landlord in West Bay had accused her of stealing items after she moved from the premises in November 2009 that Catron said she had purchased. She said that during the crown’s case the witnesses had admitted that they were not sure whether they had owned the items in question at all and even less so when Catron produced sales receipts for them.
 
The second count of property damage boiled down to a basic contractual dispute. The landlord had first instructed Catron to remove the upgrades she had made to the property an instruction she complied with despite a change of heart by the landlord who had later instructed Catron to leave the fittings. Tanya Lobban crown counsel had said Catron had deliberately caused the damage because she had not been compensated for the upgrades.
 
Catron said that Magistrate Margaret Ramsey-Hale said the crown had not proved any intent and as the landlords didn’t appear to understand the contract then the defendant could not be expected to either. She noted that it was purely a contractual dispute and should not have been part of criminal proceedings.
 
In Catron’s previous courtroom drama she was accused by the prosecution of stealing a dog. Catron however, contended that she had found and made every effort to locate the owners of the lost animal and had offered to return it when the owners showed up once she was compensated for the medical expenses. When the owners did not pay, Catron did not give up the dog, by which time she had become much attached, and as a result the animal was seized taken to the pound and Catron was arrested and charged.
 
Following the crown’s case against her in those proceedings Catron made a no case submission to acting magistrate John Furness who also threw out that case.
 
Speaking about what was a difficult experience for a lay person Catron said, “The first case was certainly beneficial to me for my second court appearance. This time I was ready with my various court of appeal cases and authorities. I was certainly more confident and comfortable with the procedures but most of all I was not so emotionally involved as I was over the case with the dog.”
 
With so much court room experience now under her belt, Catron who has a law degree said she was contemplating taking the next step and going on to do her bar exam.
 
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Comments (49)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This seems to be very personal between Cayman's authorities and Sandra…who I happne to know very well.

    That she's cheesed  off someone high up in power is very evident.

    The number of minor, petty cases that the RCIPS has brought against her since her candidacy in the 2009 elections…and subsequent judicial review request for the outcome of the Bodden Town electoral results, which she lost…speaks for themselves.

    However, all they're doing is giving her a platform and helping her in her quest of a legal career.

    If she keeps whopping their butts in the court room as she has been doing, she will have a slew of clients knocking on her door once she passes those exams and is called to Cayman's law bar…if that ever happens.

    She certainly knows how to stick up for herself…and obviously certain people don't like that at all !

  2. Anonymous says:

    I wonder how many other cases like this exist? How much money and time is the police and legal department really wasting? Why does the Solicitor General have to bring in all these experts for the cases she tries? I thought we had so much expertise in that department already. Both of the lawyers in these cases should feel very different about a lay person beating them at their own game! I mean imagine it – that girl never stepped foot in court before and took on 2 senior crown counsels and did not even have to mount a defence? Shows you how frivilous the charges really were and thank GOD for the sensible judges who put an end to this nonsense.

    I heard Ms. Catron on the radio this morning and I agree with her – there need’s to be an over haul of the system and improvements can indeed me made. I liked her idea of performance based apprails for crown counsels as well as firing any police officer who has lied in the course of his duty/in a court of law.

    Sounds like she has learned a lot from her experiences that would now make her better prepared if she decides to get called to the bar. I think she’s obviously very intelligent and would only be an asset to the legal fraternity. She’s not in it for the money but stands for what is right.

    Good luck to you and as a fellow GTowner you make me proud to see how much you have accomplished in your life girl.

    God Bless!

    • Noresh says:

      There are so many people in these islands that agree with your comment. What are the Solicitor General and the Attorney-General doing? Wasting public funds on cases that are not truly cases, on matters that are not of public interest – its sad state of affairs that we have to contend with such substandard legal "expertise", such lack of exercise of proper discretion (as the Prosecution is entitled to do!) – funny thing is that the SG follows the instructions of the AG, and if you ask the AG he says "Ask the SG!" – how ridiculous. Our public legal system is crumbling under the current leadership – have a look at the recent criticisms of the Legal Admin Dept for its mis-spending! Sad! BUT thumbs up Sandra – it must be a relief to you! When is our Government or perhaps the FCO going to take a stand against this AG and put someone else who can make decisions that make sense in his place? (Or are we going to stand to one side and play stupid forever?)

       

  3. Anonymous says:

    JOB WELL DONE SANDRA

    • Anonymous says:

      Cant keep a good woman down. Well done but don’t go saving any stray dogs any more. Keep your head up high.  Bodden Town needs a change for next election. Mr. Seymour has got to go.  XXXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      As brilliant as she is I am surprised that she is not either operating her own law firm or employed by one.

      • Anonymous says:

        Perhaps you should know it’s because she has been continuing her studies. Let’s try to keep up with the facts eh? Even I know she has since gotten her Masters degree in Public Administration and is doing her doctorate in Education. Imagine doing all that after law school!

        How many qualified lawyers do you know can claim 4 degrees under their belt? I quite like the sound of Dr. Catron, attorney-at-law!

        Not everyone is satisfied with just a UK based bachelor of law degree. Higher education baby!

  4. West Bayer says:

    I wonder if the BT MLA is going to have the same luck in court? Or wait, he nah going to court, right???

    Truth be told this young lady got alot to say, but she speaks with more sense than these so-called "educated" idiots in the L.A.!!

     

  5. Anonymous says:

    This really just goes to show how much time and money was wasted on 2 cases that were thrown out. This time and money could be put to better use in, let’s say, prosecuting actual criminals and getting them custodial sentences and off the streets. The Crown should be embarrassed by both of these cases. Glad that Mr. Furniss and The Chief Magistrate were able to see what’s what and STOP wasting the Court’s time on issues taht should not have appeared in front of them anyway. Tanya, embarrassing, huh?!?!

  6. Anonymous says:

     Sounds like intimidation against this brave woman!  We need more brave souls to speak truth to power.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Are you telling me that the prosecutor had to wait for the judge to tell them that it was a civil matter. and for the complainants to admit that they are not sure about the items. then the accused produce reciepts to show that she had purchase them. my god what are we paying them for. let me say this.  The responsibility is with the head man, one more time to support me not having any confidence in him.   HE NEED TO GO

  8. Historian says:

    I wish that Sandra would have had the same success in challenging the election of Tweedle-dee and Tweedle-dumb.  East Enders- are you  kicking yourselves YET? 

    • Historian says:

      I’m guessing that it’s not that fine looking personal trainer from Florida giving me the thumbs down.

    • Anonymous says:

      What East Enders got to do with Sandra Catron.  We got enough worries on our own, we dont need no more.  Leave us out of this one.

      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sure that author meant to say Bodden Town!

        • Historian says:

          Thank you.  The East Side is dealing with a heap of crap right now and are rightly frustrated.

          • Anonymous says:

            Thought EE had the action man and you guys could not be happier?

            • Historian says:

              He’s an action man in a sea of sessiles who can’t get their butts going due to inertia.

  9. Anonymous says:

    2 court cases in 15 years of being in Cayman is hardly "keep appearing in court".

    What we should concern ourselves with are the REAL criminals who are in and out of court every single few months and they get to walk FREE because the Legal Dept. and RCIPS are too buy wasting time trying to enforce contracts for wealthy merchants and dog owners who neglected to look for their dogs. That’s the real question I would be asking.

    I hope now that the Crown has been really embarassed by Ms. Catron that they will support her call to the bar and even give her employment! Seems to me they need some decent lawyers who know what cases are worth taking to the halls of justice and worth spending our tax payers money on!

  10. Anonymous says:

    There are those who dislike Sandra because she will "rock the boat", personaly I believe the country needs more like her.

    The "crabs in the bucket" mentality still exists here and people need to see it and stop it, everywhere else it is called jealousy and envy.

    • Anonymous says:

      The "crabs in the bucket" mentality is causing so much division with the society that the real power brokers continue to have field day and we are not noticing.

      When will be as united as a people like Jamaica. Despite their host of problems. they do not tear apart their own but actually help one another to succeed wherever they are in the world.

  11. Anonymous says:

    I’m sorry but why is this even in the news? 

    • Anon says:

      Because Sandra would never be a mute backbencher.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is in the news because any of us can be a victim of the system just like she was! The police, legal and judiciary have a lot of power and need to be watched very carefully.

      I applaud her for sharing this and the ineptidude of the entire system. I wish more of US were like her and spoke out against these injustices.

      I for one know a lot of landlords take advantage of tenants but no one ever speaks out.  Shame on them and GOOD FOR CATRON!

  12. Anonymous says:

    I am happy for my sister she is a very good person and loved by her Family. 

    It is at times like these that I seriously question the competence and justification of our bloated and grotesquely expensive civil service / governmental bodies, the crown needs to look at there cases very good before taking someone to Court.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Maybe the Bodden Town group should have puther in charge of the court proceedings there instead of bringing in an expat QC – bet she would have won that one also! I do believe this is Sandra true calling and she should get called to the bar!! She did win against some of Legal’s finest afterall!

  14. anonymous says:

    The Landlord could have settled in a more amicable way instead of going to court. Sandra, I encourage you to build your confidence and take up the Bar Exams.  One more Caymanian Lawyer to defend your own. Good Luck to you.

    • anonymous says:

      Is there a LandLord /Tenant  rights law that people can access?

      • WTF says:

        BE AFRAID!  Does anybody else find the thumbs down on this one alarming?  

  15. durrrr says:

    possibly the most one-sided report I’ve ever read. and bar exam?

    • Anonymous says:

      No she just smarter then some, so you go sandra do your exam with god speed you will be able to help alot of us.

  16. Anonymous says:

    There seems to be a bigger point here…why on earth is the Crown dealing with commercial matters between a Landlord and Tenant anyway? One side claimed a theft (but knowing that the other was a Tenant) and the Crown think that is a Crime. That is what commercial courts are for! If its a lease problem let them sort it out themselves without involving the Gov.

  17. Anonymous says:

    One can only summise from these last two cases that were judged in favour of this defendant, are that the police and crown counsel sure appears to have a "hard on" for Sandra Catron. 

    I do wish Sandra Catron best of luck if she does do her PPC and her articles and is later admitted to the bar. XXXXX

    • Anonymous says:

      Good luck trying to get articles around here!  There are many of us still waiting…..

      • Attorney says:

        Just because someone has a law degree does not mean they are of any interest to a law firm.  A law degree does not confer the right to a legal career.   Anything less than a 2.1 and I would not want to interview you.  A holder of a 2.1 needs something else special to get a job because a ordinary candidate with a basic 2.1 is of no interest to a good quality law firm.

        But no doubt people understood that before they decided to get a law degree.

         

        • Anonymous says:

          Funny how we don’t know what people are coming with when they come from overseas to get called to the bar in Cayman! Our legal profession is overrun by expats looking to setup their retirement fund. I think the criteria for expats getting called to the bar should be raised and it should not be that easy.

          You take bread out of the mouths of qualified Caymanians based on such foolish academic criteria and it won’t end pretty. The existing rise in crime not enough? Keep watching – you will all see the fallout of this continue discrimination against Caymanian professionals.

  18. Milo+Bread = Mmmm! VDM's Style! ;) says:

    Ironside returns! Good for you Sandra. Glad you can beat the crown at their own games. "She noted that it was purely a contractual dispute and should not have been part of criminal proceedings." Says it all. I’m glad Magistrate Margaret Ramsey-Hale has the integrity to call out the posturing of the crown when she sees it.

     

  19. Anonymous says:

    Well done Sandra, there are people who expect to push and get away with it. The crown seems to have been taken in or not determined the cases effectively.

  20. whodatis says:

    It is at times like these that I seriously question the competence and justification of our bloated and grotesquely expensive civil service / governmental bodies.

     

  21. Anonymous says:

    Amazing! Good luck to her. But..er..why does she keep appearing in court for things?

    • Anonymous says:

      Within in 1 month she was charged with 2 separate cases? What do you think? All of this on the heel of the BT challenge? Need I say any more? You put it together!

      • Anonymous says:

        IF you are right about that – there would have to be collusion as the police can arrest you but only the legal department can charge you with a crime.

        AND that begs the question – who is watching to see that this type of thing does not happen.

        BUT it is even worse if the court is also part of the plot (obviously in this case they were not).

      • WTF says:

        That she represented herself in court and could have had a fool for a client?  I guess that’s not it.  What should we be putting together?  That she was harrassed mercilessly by the powers that be and still came out smelling like a rose?

    • Jasper says:

      Good question!

      She appears to love controversy, the court, and the camara. As well, something about her is hidden behind that smile. Don’t know what it is, but she has an agenda which I feel extends towards next election.  🙂 

      • Anonymous9 says:

        Oh! Like that was her doing!!

        And you may think the story is one sided as well, but if you look at the facts, it IS one sided.. against Ms Catron!

        Seemed obvious to pretty much everyone else.

        You don’t have to like someone to see the facts in this case and judge against her accuser.

        Don’t be a Hater

    • Anonymous says:

      That’s a good question. The answer, however, lies somewhere in the "facts" of why she is made to appear in court for these "things" only to have the Judges throw the cases out and comment that these matters should never had been brought to court in the first place.

    • Anonymous9 says:

      Errr…. Why do you think! !

      There are some that make it their business to cause others trouble. Imagine spending that kind of energy just to inflict difficulty on someone.

      That energy could be put to such better use.

      Jealousy abounds.

    • anonymous says:

      The powers that be  are usually manipulating the system against local acivists and politicians that were unsuccessful in getting elected. They have a very hard time getting work and also surviving. There ought to be a fund put in place to help these people and they certainly need legal representation but the local lawyers are so snobbish and can’t be trusted, that they won’t even volunteer a free representation in cases of emergency. all they want is money, money, money.   The Education system should add legal and public Affairs to their curriculum to better educate and equip young people who may need to defend themselves one of these days.

      Cayman Needs Magnet Schools. for Gifted Children.

      Go Sandra, Go Sandra, Go Catron, Go Catron, Its your Birthday! its your birthday!