Former teacher reveals court ordeal

| 15/09/2010

(CNS): Last month the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal upheld the Grand Court’s decision to overturn the conviction of Marius Voiculescu for possession of drugs, ending the former teacher’s long ordeal. After the controversial courtroom saga over a half burned spliff Voiculescu agreed  to a candid interview with CNS about his experience with the judicial system and how he and his family have suffered as a result of thecrown’s apparently relentless pursuit of a conviction over 0.004 of ganja.  Voiculescu faced five court cases and significant expense, which all started when he found a cigarette packet in the car park of the condo complex where he lived.

CNS Q:1. Why did you go through 5 trials, when you could have simply walked away?
MV: Initially, I stood up for myself and my family out of principle. I simply could not bring myself to admit to something that I did not do. Very early in the proceedings I was presented with the opportunity to plead guilty and not have a conviction entered on my record. I refused the offer. I was not going to allow them to convict an innocent person. Once they convicted me, I was not prepared to allow the injustice to stand. The fact that I had full confidence in my attorney, Nicholas Dixey of Mourant, helped tremendously. I trusted that he would get the job done, despite the enormous odds that we faced. 
CNS Q2 Can you describe how this incident impacted your life?
MV: This incident not only impacted my life but my entire family’s lives. Shortly after my wrongful conviction, my father passed away as a result of a major heart attack. My parents were unaware of the trial until a few days after I was convicted. I did not wish to worry them needlessly. I believe that the stress and worry played a role in his death. 
Soon after his funeral, the Department of Education sent me a letter of termination. During the seven plus years that I served the department, I gave the department close to a thousand hours of my personal time. My volunteer work included soccer, track and field, chess, NCFA, math and language fairs, community clean-ups, computer and media club, PTA teacher representative, school blogger and photographer, among many other things. I was also a registered blood donor at the government hospital. 
Because I was fired we were forced to leave Grand Cayman (my wife was on my contract) in the middle of winter, in the midst of a world-wide recession, with no house or work to go to, and few prospects; with a two and a half year old to take care of. We left behind many friends, as well as our dog, Buddy, which we had raised for over 5 years. Buddy belonged to a local family whose boy was attending school in the US — he was not ours to take. Monetarily, the incident has cost us approximately $100,000 US (legal fees, lost wages, associated moving costs, etc.).
Caedan, my son, who was two at the time, was expelled from the only home he knew. The two and a half years of litigation and never ending stress also had a tremendous impact on my family’s physical, mental and emotional health.
CNS Q3. How did you feel throughout the various trials?
MV: To begin with, I must say that I had no idea what I was in for. Although I’m fairly well read, reasonably educated, well-traveled, and have lived in various countries around the world, I was quite unprepared and inexperienced for the things that came at me. By the time that all was said and done, I felt like I had been trapped in some Orwellian or Kafkaesque nightmare. In the beginning I believed, somewhat naively,that everyone was interested in the truth, in justice being served, that as long as I provided an honest explanation and provided proof of my innocence, people would act reasonably, come to the proper conclusions and things could return to normal. That is not at all what happened.
After my wrongful conviction I was absolutely disgusted with the events of the trial and the verdict. By then, any morsel of naivety had been beaten out of me. I was well aware that once I was convicted, I would face along, uphill battle to clear my name. The roller coaster ride that followed, the two Grand Court and Court of Appeal battles, were mentally, emotionally, and physically draining. In the end, it was well worth it. The Grand Court and the Court of Appeal did their job.
CNS Q4.  At what point in this long saga do you think this should have been halted or the situation handled differently?
MV: Soon after my urine test came back negative for any drugs, customs advised me that this would have normally ended any further proceedings, but because I was a primary school teacher my case was referred to the Legal Department. The Legal Department refused to do a DNA test despite the fact that I offered to pay for all associated costs.
 In all likelihood, they were not interested in any further evidence that would damage their case against me. After the crown charged me for possession we sent the spliff to an independent laboratory in California for testing. The test came back in my favour and conclusively excluded me as a contributor to the DNA found on the spliff. My attorney then wrote to the crown to reconsider its case against me. I suspect that they had me confused with Pablo Escobar because they refused to consider what I would argue was a sensible suggestion. It is at this point that I believe that the case should have stopped. 
Common sense indicates that if the half-smoked spliff was mine, my DNA would have been all over it and the ganja would have shown up in my urine. Common sense would also indicate that financial gain could not have been a motive and that I was not about to traffic a half-smoked spliff. 
CNS Q5. Would you consider returning to Cayman?
MV: Without a doubt I would love to return to Cayman. There are many people and things that I miss. I would love to go for a swim with Buddy, jog down South Sound road, take my little boy to Dart Park and teach at my old schools again. Realistically speaking, it’s not going to happen, not after this experience. “Justice” may have been served but the cost has been immense.
I’m quite certain that I would never want to expose my family to a system that ignores the vultures, the hyenas and the jackals, yet goes rabbit hunting loaded for bear. At this time, I’m quite satisfied with my life in Canada. On occasion, I reflect about the many positive experiences that I have had in the Cayman Islands, and that is good enough for me.   
CNS Q6. It is apparent that this has cost you a significant amount of money as well as the Cayman tax payer. What message do you feel it sends and what lessons do you think need to be learned?
The Caymanian Compass recently ran an article which stated that at least 38 cases of possession of an unlicensed firearm were dismissed in the Cayman Islands Summary Court and Grand Court between 2005 and May 2010 (July 13, 2010). In August 2010, the Cayman Island Court of Appeal castigated the crown for appearing unprepared in front of the court – the case involved a firearm. 
More recently, the Complaints Commissioner has called the regulation of the country’s private sector pension system a “systemic failure”. (CNS, September 12, 2010) In view of these matters I find it difficult to understand how the crown was able to justify their crusade against my family.
It’s one thing to chase innocent people half-way around the globe and notable dog lovers in Cayman if there was nothing better to do, it’s another thing to do it when, among other things, firearm cases are routinely being dismissed or lost, and private sector pension rules are not being enforced. Is it possible, and I’m no expert in the field of time management, could the effort, time, and money that was wasted on my case and other similar cases somehow have been put to better use? I do not know what it has cost the crown to prosecute my case but I hope that a recent FOI request will shed some light on this. 
CNS Q7. Are you planning to pursue any sort of legal action of your own?
Definitely. People need to be held accountable.
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  1. anonymous says:

    Dear Marius Voiculescu and Family,


    This is just a quick note of support for all of your efforts and perserverence. I am also an educator and have taught abroad several times and in remote areas as well. I just wanted you to know that youare definitely not alone, as my fiance and I went through a similar experience in a rural Alaskan Native Village, ten years ago. To make a long story short, after 8 months of harrassment and false accusations, our principal, who was also the tribal council chief, he gathered up the council for a meeting and encouraged nearly all 100 adults of the village to sign a petition to force us from the village. Since we lived in Tribal housing (there are no reservations or state law on tribal land), we had no choice but to go and live in the school, which belonged to the state of Alaska. After many many many calls and reports made, the principal was investigated by the Professional Practices Commission, we aquired a lawyer and had the union on our side… in the end, after only 3 months, the principal was fired due to extortion and conflict of interest. We both got a positive evaluation for the rest of our lives (legally bound), and 10,000.00 each to not go public with what occurred in the village. So we never went to the media or pusued staying in the village. We went trekking in Nepal, however ended our relationship, the stress was too great, physically and mentally, and now, 10 years later, I am still a teacher and always think about how Alaska shaped my "non-naivity" so to speak, as you had said in your article. So maybe this is a little glimmer of hope and of a little inspiration to you and your family, I know you will land on top, because there are more angles you could take, such as attacking the injustice and corruption in the system in general. Interestingly, I taught in the Island of Grenada with Peace Corps and also found a commonality within punitive systems… and so now I was looking at teaching in the Caymans… I googled it, and up came your story, and I didn’t even know it! Now that I am aware, it may change my romantic ideas of teaching there, that’s okay the world is big!!! All the best to you and yours and keep up the great work!

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Thank you for your personal story and note of support.  Overall, my family has landed on top – it is during trying times such as yours and mine that we learn what is important and what we are made of.  Best of luck in your future endeavours.

  2. anonymous says:

    I wanted to respond and thank every individual poster for their positive remarks.  Unfortunately, I lack the time to do so, as there are many matters that I need to look into and after.  I have decided to post a general thank you to all for your wonderful support. 

    Thank you to my many friends in Cayman, Canada, and the US for your support.  Thank you also to the many contributors who I do not know, and who do not know me and my family, but who have contributed to the discussion.  Thank you for your support and insight. 

  3. Jacques Clouseau says:

    An apology from the AG or even the magistrate would be nice. No chance though, they couldnt care less.

    Wonder if the Cayman CPS & the magistrate have learnt a lesson…or will we simply get this sort of thing happening again? Wasting public money and screwing innocent people over. Is it too much to expect decision making based on common sense and facts? Sadly, it is. Has the AG ever heard of the phrase ‘not in the public interest’?

    Sorry Mr V, much respect.

    Inspector C



  4. Anonymous says:

    I applaud Mr Voiculescu’s strength of character in pursuing this matter as he did as I am well aware of the distress and public mudslinging that can take place after a false accusation has been made. Even worse when you are a government employee who does not have the right to defend themselves in a public forum. Personally, I went through something similar to this when a spliff was found in my partner’s bedside drawer. He was responsible for it, he told the police where it was, admitted that it was his and that I had no knowledge of it being there and agreed to provide a urine sample to prove that it was his. I was immediately arrested and subsequently suspended from my job for a period of 6 months whilst the legal department made a ‘decision’ regarding whether they were going to prosecute me or not. I happily provided a urine sample for testing but was not told the result (negative) of this for 18 weeks, preventing me from returning to work until the matter had been cleared up. I subsequently found out that the results of the testing had been returned within 5 weeks of me giving the sample. I had to endure slanderous comments made anonomously on this forum following a report made about my arrest -apparently I was ‘trash’ and I should be ‘thrown out with the trash’. Even some of the police officers involved suggested that I should make a complaint about my treatment by the legal department. Thankfully this is now behind me and I choose to turn the other cheek to those who feel that it is acceptable to judge me when they do not know me – I wish you all the best for the future Mr Voiculescu, and congratulations for standing up for what you believe in.

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Thank you very much for your kind words.  I know exactly who you are, as I have heard and read about your "case".  Your sister came out very strongly in your defence at one point…  I am happy to hear that matters have "worked out" for you.  Having said that, I understand completely how you felt and most likely still feel about the matter – despite things having "resolved" for you, I imagine that you too have lost much.   Ultimately, things can never be the same for you as they were before; and as you describe in your post, the Legal Department could have proceeded differently with your case as well; but they chose not to.  Thank you again for your post.

  5. Chet O. Ebanks says:

    Such a bad thing to do to. What has thes islands come to, it makes me want to leave too. Imagine what they would do to one of ther own, oh well. Good luck Mr.V and all the best for the future. I say file a lawsuit and take as much as you can get. The powers that be are draining the country dry with ther wastefull spending. We need to wake up Cayman. Such a loss.  

  6. C. Colesberry says:

    Despite the eloquence of the writer of, "Don’t let the facts get into the way of a good story", that’s exactly what the courts did.  How can the courts possibly claim impartiality when the evidence that  unequivocally proved Mr.Voiculescu’s innocence was ignored?   If, as the author claims, the Caymen courts acted appropriately, then in the words of Charles Dickens, in Oliver Twist, "The law is an ass".

    I taught with Mr. Voiclulescu here in Canada and can state without hesitation that the Caymen’s loss, and it is a loss, is most definitely our gain.

  7. mariusvoiculescu says:

    In response to  Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 09/15/2010 – 16:46.


    Your pathetic attempt to try to convict me in this public forum, by twisting the facts, after I could not be convicted in the Court of Law, or Courts of Law I should say, is downright pitiful.  Nice try nonetheless.

    Do you know what COWARDS are?  They are BULLIES who get pushed back by those who they try to intimidate!  Do you know what COWARDS and BULLIES hate?  They hate the TRUTH, especially when it exposes the bullies for what they truly are – cowards.   

    Your claim that the Crown did not wish to put me through further expense, after my first Grand Court acquittal, is outright laughable:

    1.  If the Crown did not wish to put methrough further expense, why did the Crown appeal the case to the Court of Appeal?

    2.  The Crown did not wish to have the trial retried because the Crown most likely was afraid that it would lose on the FACTS of my case – therefore the Crown resorted to hyper-technical procedural arguments to try and reverse my acquittal.

    3.  If, as you claim, the prosecutor did not wish to put me through further expense, why did the Crown put me through $32,000 US in costs in Summary Court alone?  The Crown was well aware of the costs.  Was $32,000 US the magic number?  Ok, right, we need to stop all procedures against Mr. Voiculescu as he has incurred costs over $32,000 US.  We’ll just appeal it a few more times though – that ought not to cost him too much more…   

    4.  I offered the Crown the opportunity to do the DNA test and they refused.  Once I did a DNA test, they refused to allow the DNA evidence to be read into court, although they did not have any evidence of their own to dispute ours.  They resorted to trying to discredit a DNA expert who had testified in over 300 trials in the US, both for the prosecution and the defence.  They wanted me to bring him down from the US at a cost of approximately $10,000 US (trip; hotel; time; court). 

    Do you still want to argue that the Crown was trying to somehow save me money?

    Your further attempts to twist the facts of my case, rather unskilfully, didn’t work for others and will not work for you.  

    1.  Let us be absolutely clear about one thing.  I did not lose on the FACTS, I won on the FACTS (Grand Court; Court of Appeal).

    2.  The Security Guard did not smell the spliff immediately.  (Grand Court;   Court of Appeal)  He smelled the spliff after he opened the pack, and brought it to his nose to smell – he did the job that he was trained to do…

    3.  I do not wear glasses.  I never have.  My wife does.  So does my mom; so did my dad; and so do half my friends.   My sense of hearing is reduced, significantly at times.  I completely lost my hearing in my right ear twenty odd years ago.  I know people whose sense of hearing is poorer than mine, and others, whose sense of hearing is much sharper than mine.    Do you get the point, or shall I spell it out further?  I have smoked for over 25 years.  My sense of smell is poorer than that of others.  Just because the guard smelled it, does not mean that I ought to have smelled it. 

    4.  I appealed my wrongful conviction because I had to.  I was innocent.  It was not out of sheer pleasure and certainly not because I had nothing better to do. 

    5.  I was not awarded costs because it was a criminal case, not a civil case.  Costs are hardly ever awarded in criminal cases.  I took a shot at trying to recover my costs, just the same as I took a long shot at the  appeal.  Winning my appeal was far from a guaranteed matter.  At any rate, my attorney and I were far more concerned with winning my appeal than pressing further for costs.  We argued for costs, lost, and moved on.

    6.  You argue that the Crown’s case against me was not malicious – just because it may not have been malicious does not necessarily mean that the prosecution of my case was not unreasonable and over the top.

    Your last nonesensical points about the Crown and the prosecutor somehow doing me some other great favours are borderline delusional and utterly ridiculous.  I can guarantee you that if it had not been for the Court of Appeal, we would be still battling this out.  The fact is, the Court ofAppeal had enough of the nonesense, upheld my acquittal, and put an end to all procedures once and for all.

    By the way, send my regards to your friends.  Tell them that I miss them.

    • An Ony Mous says:

      Marius – you are being too kind (but I know that is just in your nature).  This is all a matter of public record from the trial, for anybody who is interested.

      In the Summary Court:
      1. The prosecutor did NOT establish any chain of custody for the cigarettes or the spliff.  This fact alone would have had the case thrown out in many jurisdictions.  While Mr. V’s and his attorney never disputed that he was in possession of the spliff, they easily could have.  After confiscating the pack of cigarettes, the guard handed it to a Cayman Airways employee (who was only ever identified by his first name, and never testified during the trial).  The CAL employee took it to the Customs officer in some other part of the airport, and the officer came back and eventually made the arrest.  The chain of custody was never established, and was certainly not entered into evidence in the trial.  Remarkably, after the prosecution rested their case, the Magistrate suggested during court proceedings that the prosecutor might want to recall thesecurity guard to help establish the chain of custody.  And even more remarkably, the prosecutor did not take her advice.
      2. The one small victory for Mr. V during the course of the summary court trial was that the magistrate ruled he did not have to bring the DNA expert to the island to testify.  The prosecutor has a duty to question the validity of the DNA expert’s conclusions – fair enough.  However, when somebody has been established as an expert after having testified in over 300 trials, the Magistrate has a similar duty to accept his evidence at trial.  This is particularly true when a) Marius requested that the Crown test the spliff for DNA and the request was denied; b) Marius then requested that the Crown test the spliff for DNA at his own expense, and the request was denied; and c) Marius then took the only remaining course of action to have the spliff tested on his own, and at his own expense, by choosing an experienced laboratory and investigator.  Where exactly is the part that the Crown saved him money?
      3. The Crown’s burden of proof on this charge was to prove that the defendant was knowingly in possession of the ganja.  The Crown did not do this.  At no time did they present evidence to suggest that he knew he was in possession of the ganja.  See point #1 above – they didn’t even establish that he was in possession of it at all, though this fact was not in dispute.
      4. The Magistrate made errors.  By her own admission and in her written judgment and as reported on CNS, she acknowledged that Mr. V is not a ganja user.  The evidence was clear on this.  However, she convicted on the basis that he "outght to have smelled" the ganja.  At no point during trial was any evidence entered about "a strong odor" or Mr. V’s ability to smell the ganja.  The only evidence on smell was that the security guard smelled something unusual when he brought the pack close to his nose.  It’s a small point with big consequences.  She assumes that a) his sense of smell is at least as good as the security guard; and b) that Mr. V knows what ganja smells like – hardly a sure thing for a defendant who has already been confirmed as a non-user.  The second error is one of simple logic.  If you accept the first point (that he ought to have smelled the ganja), then you are bound to conclude that he knowingly carried a tiny amount of a controlled substance into an international airport, and more than two years later I am still unable to come up with a plausible reason why anybody would do that.
      5. After the conviction in the Summary Court, Mr. V could have paid a fine, left the island, and been done with it.  The fine was about $400 if my memory is correct.  Instead, he continued with his battle to show his innocence, with continued expense and hardship.  There is simply no way a person who was guilty of this minor offence would put that much time, effort, and resources into his defense. 
      All of the points above are reasons that this case could have been abandoned at a much earlier stage.  Yesterday somebody posted a well written comment (but in many cases factually incorrect) that said, "Don’t let facts get in the way of a good story."  The facts all continue to point in the same direction – the only direction that they can point – that Mr. V is innocent.  I am carefully choosing my words to say "innocent" rather than "not guilty".  Innocent means he did not commit the crime with which he was charged, whereas not-guilty might imply that he was able to "get off on a technicality" or other erroneous conclusion.  Make no mistake, this is a case where the defendant did not commit the crime in the first place.  I’m sure it’srare, but it does happen.
      Marius – keep fighting the battle until the bitter end.  Those who know you are here to support you any way we can. 
  8. If u dont like it go home says:

    for "been there". Your comments regarding Caymainians is very inaccurate, i think if you check the individuals of the crown and police that pushed this case you will discover they are Expats and not Caymanians

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      As far as I know, the police were not involved.  Customs were involved and they treated me with utmost respect and professionalism.  The prosecutor who handled 95+ per cent of my case is an expat.  He was promoted to Senior Crown Counsel in the past year or two.  He in turn reports to the SG and the AG I believe.

    • been there says:

      Maybe you should get someone to read you the whole comment?

      Been there means I went home many years ago but I still have lots of good  friends there.  Some of them Caymanian who also have to put up with "the system".

  9. nauticalone says:

    Dear Mr. V and family,

    I am so sorry, and even more embarassed, that the Judicial system of my country treated you so unfairly.

    Half a joint? Some here have rationalized that he should have smelled it or not picked up the half pack of cigs. This may be so, but for CI Govt. to go to this extent to try to convict someone for a half joint? Someone who by all accounts contributed in a positive way to Cayman community.

    This is just plain crazy. Especially as he tested negative for ganja and his DNA was not o the spliff.

    No wonder the hardened criminals are lierally getting away with murder. Have the prosecuters no shame?…no sense of Justice?

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Thank you.  The fact of the matter is that innocent people have been convicted all over the world for far worse things.  Having said that, it certainly did not feel good.  I appeciate your apologies, but they’re not necessary.  The people and your country treated me wonderfully; minus a select few and an expat.

      I am "advertising" my case because certain institutions and organizations count on things being quietly swept under the rug.  As far as I am concerned, the more you bring certain matters to light, the less likely that they’ll be able to act with impunity in the future.  Until you start holding people accountable for their actions, they will continue to act unreasonably.  

  10. Jonathan says:

    It is a shame that this gentleman paid such a price for a simple mistake.  When tested for THC in his system all of the tests came back negative and that should have been enough to show that he is not a ganja smoker.  By a simple process of elimination this would obviously show the spliff was not his as the tests would have shown otherwise.  It is unfortunate that the magistrate overseeing this case did not see it that way, probably from a standpoint of the precedence factor it would create if he were given a more lenient judgement due to the circumstances involved.  The fact of the matter is that he was and if he were to come back would be a benefit to the Cayman Islands as he was a well respected member of the educational fraternity in this country with a proven love for his job and those he was charged with educating.  Due to the ridiculous price of a pack of cigarettes I can see why one would pick up a pack someone had obviously lost the night before.  Only a complete moron would attempt to enter an airport with a stinky half burned spliff in a cigarette pack if said person were aware of it and I know for a fact that the man is no idiot.  It is an unfortunate situation which has affected his life and that of his family greatly.  Wether or not the illegality of marijuana makes one iota of common sense in the first place is beside the point but it must be said that the punishment did not fit the crime, in my humble opinion.  All the best to you Mr. V, despite what has happened your history as a good teacher of youth in Cayman is what really matters.  God speed and God bless you sir.  So it go.

  11. au revoir says:


  12. Anonymous says:

    Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. 

    It was never disputed that Mr Voiculescu had ganja in his possession, he was stopped at the airport for it while on school business.  The magistrate did not believe his version of finding it and not realising he had it.  Border control smelt it as soon as they did a random search. They discovered in seconds what Mr V says he did not discover in days of opening and closing the packet.

    One can’t help but wonder what would have happened if he was let through and caught in the US importing the substance.

    His case was heard by an impartial court – not a prosecutor.  He lost on the facts.  He appealed (not the AG) and the Grand Court delivered a judgment that had a major impact on the law of appeals on the Cayman Islands – it did not determine he was not guilty the judge wanted to hear the case himself all over again.  The prosecutor told the court that it was not in the public interest to rehear the case and put Mr Voiculescu to further expense, even though they could have. That is the only reason he was acquitted by the Grand Court.  The AG was duty bound to make sure that an incorrect precedent on the law was not set.

    Mr Voiculescu applied for costs and was refused by the Grand Court.  One would have thought that if the Grand Court thought it was malicious that he would have been successful.  He appealed the refusal to have costs awarded to the Court of Appeal and because the AG got the legal point right Mr V was not successful on his appeal against costs.

    The AG quite reasonably was of the view that if there was no error of law, the Crown was not going to retrial.  As it turned out there was an error in law and the Court of Appeal upheld the Crown’s appeal and sent  it back to the Grand Court. It was never even suggested that the Court of Appeal should throw it out. 

    The Grand Court after getting the case back was of the mind to send it back for retrial to the summary court because it had no power to hear the matter itself (the important point of law).  The AG made no error in deciding to prosecute, the Grand Court held that the the magistrate’s reasons were not clear enough – it did not hold that she got it wrong. As far as Mr Voiculescu was concerned he could have been facing a new trail.

    It was only because the prosecutor, who the Grand Court judge commented acted most fairly, said that it was not in the public interest to go to trial again that it did not.  Remember this is the same prosecutor that stopped the wheel clamping case.

    The only reason it went to the Court of Appeal a second time was on another question of law.  In total, the Crown appeals took less than 2 hours.

    A question that might help future prosecutors though is how much ganja is acceptable to take across Caymanian borders.  Remember it is not disputed that he had it in his possession.  Furthermore perhaps the AG should stop prosecuting people found in possession of drugs when they simply say that they are not guilty – that would save a lot of time and money.

    By the way, no reporting on how many cases the AG won on appeal but that is hardly newsworthy.

    From a concerned member of the public, keep it up prosecutors and just live with the fact that you are damned if you do and damned if you don’t.

    • I miss Marius says:

      Your facts are wrong.  Starting with your statement that "Mr V says he did not discover in days of opening and closing the packet."  Mr V found the pack the night before, not "days before".  You are also wrong as to when and how border control noticed an odor.  Furthermore, you go on to make statements that are simply inaccurate.

      The sad part is that you in your own prejudice have convinced yourself that you are right and no one is likely to ever change your position.  I was Mr. V’s friend and neighbor, I suffered this charade of "justice" along side with Marius and his family and my view of the legal system was eroded.

    • Anonymous says:

      Fact is, you cannot prosecute onthe basis of suspicion/moral ethics/personal agenda.  You must have evidence otherwise you are abusing the process and the public purse.  

      Fact is, almost anywhere else in the world this wouldn’t have even gotten further than the airport for such a miniscule amount.  The item would have been confiscated and the person might, just might, have been given some kind of verbal warning – that’s as far as it would’ve gone for something so small and indeed, doubtful as this.

      Consequential fact is, this has been yet another example of an utter and completely disgraceful abuse/misuse of public funds.  

      So no, your facts don’t get in the way of a (not so) good story, although I’d call it a nightmare, not only for those involved but for Cayman and its people.  It merely sets a bad example and reflects us in a poor light on the international stage – as if we haven’t had enough bad publicity already.

      • Anonymous says:

        Probably you should look at what a police officer can, or cannot do, under the drugs law 1973. You cannot warn a person for possession and consumption of a controlled drugs regardless of the quantity. The officer would leave himself/herself open to discipline action against him. They would probably think that he accepted a bribe to let the accused man go(talk about curruption? commissioner Bains would have had his head) Its only the Legal department can drop a charge. Further, under the Drugs Law, once the substance is proved to be in your possession, the burden of proof is on the defendant to prove that he did not know it was there, or did not know it was a controlled drug.The burden ofproving that the substance was a drug and that it was in the possessin of the defendant at the material time,is on the prosecution/police but once that is satisfied the burden shift to the defendant to rebut the evidence on the balance of probabilities.

    • Slowpoke says:


      This is one of the best versions of “Monday morning armchair goalkeeping, quarterbacking, bowling, pitching, etc” that I have read in a long time.

      While your sequencing may be correct, to suggest that he lost on “facts” is disingenuous. While you are correct that he was in possession of the substance, he was found guilty due to the Crown’s and Court’s obsession with a moral war on drugs, rather than scientific evidence.

      Science shows that he had neither used the substance nor that his DNA (and DNA was found) was on the less than 0.04 grams of a joint. The Crown adamantly refused to admit science into the case and the Court went along with that. Now we will pay the price.

      Furthermore, much of the outrage is not just about this case, but the fact that it was prosecuted to such a great extent while other issues appear to be ignored.

      It looks, to the average person, that the AG and SG appear to be more concerned about less than 1 gram of ganja, than that little pamphlet we call “The Constitution”.


    • Rorschach says:

      A homeowner recently SHOT a burglar in his home…the CROWN decided it was "not in the interest of justice" to charge the homeowner with Manslaughter and proceed with a triaI, DESPITE the law clearly stating what constitutes the offense…I think what the majority of persons on this forum, including myself wonder, is….Was it in the "Interest of Justice" to proceed with this case??  OR, as it looks, were they out to "Make an example"??

    • Frequent Flyer says:

      "Common sense indicates that if the half-smoked spliff was mine, my DNA would have been all over it and the ganja would have shown up in my urine. Common sense would also indicate that financial gain could not have been a motive and that I was not about to traffic a half-smoked spliff."

      All I can say is that every now and then, I have smelled what I thought was spliff in the first light up of a cig.

      If you are not familiar with that odor, you would not know that a partially smoked spliff was in your pack.

      He was obviously NOT familiar with that smell.

      Let me just repeat, Common sense indicates that if the half-smoked spliff was mine, my DNA would have been all over it and the ganja would have shown up in my urine. Common sense would also indicate that financial gain could not have been a motive and that I was not about to traffic a half-smoked spliff.


      Why can’t judges use just a BIT of common sense!??????

      This guy was being used as an example!!!! PERIOD!

    • Jingo Jango says:

      Last I checked, principles of natural justice generally require an element of mens rea for crimes where jail time (or say, expulsion) is at issue. Absent the clean drug test perhaps you get there on your possession conviction – but with the clean drug test, I don’t see how the facts get you the mens rea. And that, my friend, is the calculus that ought to have been considered by the prosecution (particularly given the amount in question) – the AG has that discretion and in the circumstances the matter should never have been left to the magistrate to decide. 

      In the final analysis, the magistrate clearly erred and it is naive to conclude that the Grand Court Judge’s obiter is a real endorsement of either the prosecutor’s conduct or the magistrate’s decision — more importantly though, it will make Mr. V’s current challenge a very steep uphill battle.

      While I sympathize with Mr. V, there are of course many facts that we the public do not have the benefit of. No doubt it rings odd that this man picked up – and saved – a partially used pack of cigarettes. It is elements like this that fuel speculation in others and I suspect that ultimately led to the unreasonable pursuit of a conviction against him. I can imagine all sorts of scenarios that may explain away the bizarre elements of the story – but it is just speculation and this man has already been through enough. Besides, sometimes the unbelievable really is true. In a very practical sense however, we all may take the lesson that there sometimes is a price to being odd. Maybe that is Mr. V’s ilegacy for Cayman.

    • anonymous says:

      Aren’t you just a legal beagle.  Are you in any way related to those geniuses who prosecute doggie kidnapping cases?

    • access says:

      "One can’t help but wonder what would have happened if he was let through and caught in the US importing the substance."

      Wonder no more.  What would have happened is that he would have been immediately arrested for importation of narcotics and summarily executed in front of his wife and child.  Did that get you salivating you slobbering fool?  Don’t try to make it sound like you’ve done him some sort of favour!  If some US agent would have stopped him and found the ganja, they most likely would have confiscated it and given him a warning.  If it had gone any further, it would have been a simple misdemeanour.  Now quit slobbering you idiot! 

    • cibcan says:

      don’t let your mind wander.  it’s far too small to be left out on its own.  all of your points are irrelevant as he is obviously not guilty. or do the voices in your head say otherwise?

    • anonymous says:

      It appears that the Crown and its friend(s) are still unable to let go, three years later after the incident!

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      By the way, while the crown was setting this huge legal precedent that you speak of (over 0.004 oz of ganja), and trying its hardest to convict an innocent person while it was at it, the crown was losing far more important cases in the Courts of Law, because it was spending far too much time chasing me across the world.  Do your friends and yourself a huge favour and stop typing nonesense.  Next thing you’ll tell us is that prosecuting doggie cases was another huge Crown breakthrough.  Obviously you and your friends have no shame!  It bugs you to no end that I am innocent – INNOCENT – get it?

    • Anonymous says:

      What this comments seems to lack is any sort of perspective on the "facts".  The Crown never should have prosecuted the case in the first place because the case was completely full of reasonable doubts as to his guilt.  Consider that:

      1.  all admitted he had good character and no previous convictions

      2.  all admitted he was not a ganga smoker

      3.  urine test said he had not smoked ganga

      4.  DNA test (which Crown refused to do and for which he paid out of his own pocket) confirmed that he had not smoked the joint in question, but 2 other people had

      5.  he came up with his "story" on the spot in the airport and never waivered from that story throughout the whole ordeal

      6.  he could have had no possible motive in carrying it across the border

      It is clear that the prosecutor should not have prosecuted the case.  End of story.

    • Anonymous says:

      If our judicial system is filled with people (morons) with your mentality – then God help Cayman, the Judiciary and the public purse.

      Take it from someone who really does know, rather than professes to know like yourself… YOU have no idea how to properly conduct court business; how to properly utilize funds from the public purse; how to prosecute a case; and most of all how to GET YOUR FACTSRIGHT.

      Better resign, you are doing the public a disservice.


    • anonymous says:

      Is this the Legal Department feeling a bit uncomfortable about being torn to shreds?   

    • Anonymous says:


      Iyou honestly believe in what you are saying I truly hope you walk down the street one day on the way to the airport and a .004g half burnt spliff gets caught in the sole of your shoe. When you take your shoes off a customs officer smells the weed you are charged with possession even if you can prove through DNA and urine samples that you never touched it or smoked it. Then let’s just hope the system takes you through 5 trials while you are suspended from your profession and forced to leave your home! Using your logic you are as guilty as can be, so good luck trying to clear your name.
  13. Anonymous says:

    Mr. V,

    We miss you alot, you were a great leader to alot of the kids who didn’t have guidance in their lives.

    I wish you and your family all the best.

    Cayman has lost another expat who truly loved this island and the people.

    From a parent at one of the schools you taught at.

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Thank you kindly.  I truly loved Grand Cayman and its people.  The seven plus years that I spent in the Cayman Islands were, aside from my childhood years, the best years of my life.  Chances are, if it had not been for this incident, I would still be living in Grand Cayman.  I truly felt at home, among all locals and expats.  I am going on a tear against some of the institutions on island because I cannot stand injustice; and certainly not when it’s been dealt to my family.  It really has nothing to do with the average person in Cayman who is subject to the very same things that I experienced.  I wish you and your family well; and thank you once again. mv

  14. Anonymous says:

    I trust the same efforts and sentiments will be expended if Average Joe  from Anytown, Cayman Islands gets busted with a half-burned spliff and makes the same claim of innocence.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please brush the chip from your shoulder.  Same to the young Jamaican lady who earlier made a similar comment.  Most of us don’t care if the accused was a two-headed monster from Mars – we’re looking for justice regardless of race – the only persons raising that issue in this topic are people like you.  Let’s not turn this into yet another insane mud-slinging match on CNS please?

  15. Ex-expat says:

    Welcome back to Canada Marius.  It’s good to have you home. 

    It’s most unfortunate that you had that experience in Cayman, but unfortunately not really that surprising.  Clearing your name is of course vital, and I would have done the same thing.  In fact it reminds me of a certain Canadian judge who had a similar experience with the Cayman authorities.  In the final analysis, they simply can’t be trusted.

    To other would-be expats: If you go, and you should think long and very carefully about that decision, stay portable and make no ties.  Do a year or two for the adventure in the twilight zone, and then come back home.  Stay ready for your departure.

    • Voice of Reason says:

      Hard to say if the thumbs-down are because the comment is very critical of Cayman, or because the criticism is fully justified and that fact makes the thumbs-down-pushers upset.

      Truth is that this story tells of a very sad treatment of good people by Cayman and eveyone should be angry, and definitely more than a little bit afraid.  If they can do that to an innocent school-teacher, it can easily be you and me next.  That spells justice failed in Cayman, and that should be cause for serious fear.

      Oh, and they are taking away our legal rights while they are at it.  That really makes me feel secure.  How about you?

    • Pending says:

      Kinda agree with you there, but the moral of  this story is…. don’t pick up cigarette packs from the side of the road and then stash them in your gym bag… end of story.

      I mean seriously, unless you are a crackhead, what the F are you doing picking up a half smoked pack of cigarettes from the side of the road or car park or wherever you found it? Why didn’t you throw it away after you snuck a couple of cigarettes? Why didn’t just go and buy a pack?

      Sheer desperation for a puff?


      • Anonymous says:

        to take it a step farther… don’t smoke the ciggies. 

        • mariusvoiculescu says:

          I’m a bit wiser since.  I have quit for close to a year now…in case that you’re interested…  🙂

          • Cat says:

            Congrats and great job, may you live a long and healthier life!

            • mariusvoiculescu says:

              Thank you Cat.  One of the smarter moves that I have made in a while – now that I have quit, and I truly mean quit for good, I can’t believe that I was dumb enough to smoke for over 25 years. Thing is, you get hooked on it early and it becomes a tough habit to break.  Cheers.

          • Anonymous says:

            I wasn’t really, but congrats! 

      • sheer something. says:

        Thats the moral of the story?

        Explains a lot about Cayman!

  16. Anonymous says:

    We keep putting blame on the government but it is not the government it is the bigoted egotistical maniacs that are working for the government and who are not held accountable for their misdeeds and mismanagement of the country and its funds. They keep f….ing things up and costing the country money – but dont care because at the end of the day they dont have to bear the financial consequences of what they have done nor are they disciplied or fired – we the people have to pay – and they continue in their jobs finding others to f…..up.

  17. Just Sayin says:

    Sounds like a walk in the park compared to what our teachers are put through on a daily basis in our public schools.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please do explain how this is a walk in the park.

      The average teacher does not

      1) get wrongly accused when evidence shows the contrary,

      2) pay $100,000 in court fees, and

      3) get forced to move out the country.


      • Just Sayin says:

        I could supply you with an endless number of witnesses who would dispute point 3.

      • Anonymous says:

        umm, I think the walk in the park comment was meant in humor.. Irony? 

    • Anonymous says:

      Are you serious?  Read the article again and see if you really would want to be in this situation.  Marius loved it in Cayman and was a very dedicated, well liked teacher for 7 + years.  You obviously are a disgruntled teacher that needs to leave the teaching field.  I hope it’s sooner rather than later as the children don’t need someone teaching them that has this attitude!

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Please be kind to this person.  Although the comment appeared a bit off the cuff, I get the humour – I really don’t think that there was any malice intended…  And yes, public school teaching can be rough anywhere in the world.  Personally, I’ve been fortunate to have excellent experiences both in Cayman and in Canada.

  18. Anonymous says:

    This is a very telling story in terms of the way justice is (not) done in Cayman.  It is hugely embarrassing and damaging to Cayman and its judicial system.  It proves that priorities are wrong and ulterior motives are apparently rampant in the one place where good and honest people should be able to place our confidence and trust.

    Cayman needs change for the better.  The Cayman people who pay for these public bodies deserve a lot better.

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Well said.  The people of the Cayman Islands truly deserve better.

    • too sad says:

      I absolutely agree. I see people smoking spliff on SMB, in their cars and numerous other places and nothing happens to them!  This poor Man! Mr V – I never knew you or met your family, but I have to say I am so sorry for what you went through.  It is unbelievable what is prosecuted here while the real crimes seem to continue apace.  It comes from too many incompetent people who are doing jobs they are not trained and qualified to do!  A real pity and a huge waste of money and time. 

  19. Anonymous says:

    Please set up a bank account, I would like to make a donation to assist him with his lawsuit.

  20. CSI says:

    I’m so glad to see the well deserved support that my good friend Mr. V. is receiving from the community.  He did so much for this island while he was here and is a terrible loss for the education department and the children of the Cayman Islands.  Just ask some of the parents or some of the kids that he taught (many of whom are now teenagers). XXXXXX

  21. Anonymous says:

    Maybe  now the public will go to court and see the failed legal genuises that are paid by them prosecuting. Not a word of criticisim please!!! It is not the police who decide to prosecute. A lesson from Sandra Catron may help!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Unbelieveable. So the Legal Department Do not want to loose face so they proceed with the case although there were no evidence to convict? Good heavens,then can you think of some poor unfortunate persons who will not go that far to fight the system because of inadequate resources or because they might be young and inexperienced? One has to ask :how many innocent persons might have gone into the slammer because of similar circumstances.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Wow! I am almost left speechless. I cannot blame Marius Voiculescu at all. Someone who had put so much passion into his work here in Cayman and received that kind of treatment in return that is frightning. That is how you treat someone who actually comes here and "puts into" our island? Wow! Unbelievable! He’s actually done more than some of these MLA’s.

    Mr. Voiculescu, I am so sorry to hear how you and your family were treated, what you all endured. I hope that this will bring a change in how the system treats people like you. I hope that one day you will return here to visit and take a swim with Buddy and walk your son over to Dart Park & the legal department cover your expenses.

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Thank you for having me.  Some day, I will return for a visit – my little guy was born in Grand Cayman.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Hey, I went through the same thing.  Cost me over CI 400,000.00 and 7 years of my life (three times at the Grand Court, two at the Court of Appeals and finally the Privy Council in London) before I finally prevailed at the Privy Council in London for a case that Government had no chance of winning because their entire case was bogus.

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Sorry to hear that.  I’m sure that the readers would love to hear more about it; I certainly would.

      • Anonymous says:

        See Cayman Net News front page 25 July 2007. I believe their archives will take you there.  The editorial on the following day, 26 July 2007 provides more context and is worth reading also as it sheds light on the local judiciary.

        • mariusvoiculescu says:

          I had a look at both.  Prior to CNS, caymannetnews was the news organ that made an effort to keep government and the likes accountable.  At any rate, doctor, congratulations – it certainly must have felt good once it was all over.  There are very few who would have gone as far as you have…

          • Anonymous says:

            Thanks, much appreciated.  I hope likewise that yours is resolved in your favor.

  24. Rorschach says:

    "a system that ignores the vultures, the hyenas and the jackals, yet goes rabbit hunting loaded for bear." 


      WOW…what an absolutely appropriate, accurate analogy…

  25. Anonymous says:

    I am very sad to read this article- this gentleman and his family seem by all accounts to be positive, loving individuals and the kind of people we want to make their homes in Cayman.  Thank you for your time here, for your contribution to the education of our children and I am truly sorry for the pain and loss experienced by your familty while you were here. Good luck with any legal action you choose to pursue. I hope you win.

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Thank you for having me for those seven plus years.  The pleasure was mine.

  26. Anonymous says:

    This story is not only unsurprising, but quite common.

  27. Anonymous says:

    Marius, nu ii lasa sa scape asa usor. Contabilizeaza toate lacrimile varsate pentru suferinta asta, daca se poate face asa ceva. Si fa totul public, astia mor de ciuda cand le distrugi imaginea de sfinti. Cayman-ul este un rege, dar un rege gol si nerecunoascator. Numai bine!

  28. Karyll Iton says:

     His answer to question 6 was the kicker. We really have to wonder sometimes about the priorities of those in power.

  29. Anonymous says:

    Cayman just has to do better than this. We are far too neglectful of people’s rights and welfare, especially if they are not one of us.

  30. Anonymous says:

    I would love to see Marius and his family return to Cayman. They were good people who contributed to the well being of Cayman and this was how they were treated.

    • Tracy from Swamp says:

      If it was a Jamican  would you feel the same way?  To get his job back.

      • Anonymous says:

        " If it was a Jamican  would you feel the same way?  To get his job back."

        Please don’t turn this into a race thing.  It’s about justice.  I don’t care if he was orange, pink, or purple, it was wrong what was done to him and his family.

        My children has Jamaican teachers and if it had happened to one of them,  I would be just as upset.

  31. big mike says:

    I normally dont comment on news article just because i dont have the time. However after reading the recent reports on this story i have to ask my self "do we really care about serious crime on this island?,  How or why would you chase someone around to put them in jail for a half smoked spliff?, A country that has way more crime to deal with WHY would you waste money and try to tarnish a school teachers name?"



    • Anonymous says:

      come on big mike….surely u know the answer. 

      Look closely and u will see!!

  32. been there. says:

    Being Caymanian means that you can not be held accountable.  Hence all the many problems Cayman has.  The U.K.has proven they will not hold them accountable by allowing them to borrow above and beyone what they can show they can repay. Caymanians in the workforce both private and Government have shown for years that they are not up to the task with many major failures with (you guessed it) NO ACCOUNTABILITY!  The main problem with expats dealing with the Cayman way of doing things is that they are a third world people who because of the financial business on Cayman have been made to look like a modern day business center.   The court and legal system is made to look modern but IS third world hence the volume of crime and the difficulty getting justice for the innocent.  The Government and Civil service speaks for itself very loudly and often THIRD WORLD!  Don’t be fooled. Or else!  Thankyou Marius for not backing down even though it cost you so much of your very life.  Justice for the innocent can prevail but in Grand Cayman it is VERY expensive.

    • Anonymous says:

      Please! Get over  yourself!

    • Cat says:

      On behalf of my Caymanian people with common sense, I too apologise for the bad experience, but I would really appreciate it if people would stop disrespecting this country, and trying to berate and belittle the Caymanian people who actually haven’t done anyone wrong.This is exactly why we have been experiencing animosity and racism between Caymanian and expatsin this country and everywhere else.It’s because of people like you who automatically believe that if something is done wrong, it must be a native. Many of the people in our judicial system are not Caymanian,so how can you really generalise it and wrongfully judge all as Caymanian. It’s because of people like you who come here,and believe that your standards or better than another human beings,and spread this disgraceful mentality. If the Caymanian people were really this bad and horrible don’t you think the country  would have let other people in peacefully and coexist among us? Look at other countries that actually hate outsiders,they beat and attempt to kill and harm them and drive them out and segregate them in seperate communities. We did not do that here and we are nottrying to either. We allowed you to live amongs us in peace, and the reason why we hear about the racism here is because, people come here with the mentality like yours, try to disrespect the people and expect them not to dislike you, not to disrepect you back, not to react,to roll over and play dead and give you whatever you want or  and not have a backlash.

      Stop blaming the country, because it’s only a big piece of land that we human beings are co-existing on,blame the people who actually made the choices XXXX caused the injustice to the people ,not the piece of land we all live on and the native and non-native alike call home, whether temporary or permanent. This land named Grand Cayman didn’t do anything to us.

      This form of injustice is seen and experienced every single day around the world, by people not the land they live on. It’s because of the mulitlple personalities and cultures from around the world as a multicultural society combined in one place,that we have our diferences,and we are slowly trying to learn to adapt to each other and live peacefully amongs each other, but people with your mentality are not helping us achieve that.Love Caymanians and we will love you back, respect us and we will respect you back. Treat us like crap and don’t expect anything more than crap.

      • Anonymous says:

        point taken. thanks 

      • Anonymous says:

        Very well said.

      • Anonymous says:

        To: On behalf of my Caymanian people….


        We allowed you to live amongs us in peace, and the reason why we hear about the racism here is because, people come here with the mentality like yours, try to disrespect the people and expect them not to dislike you, not to disrepect you back, not to react, to roll over and play dead and give you whatever you want or and not have a backlash."

        Now on behalf of MY Caymanian People! I want to apologize for this diatribe. (It actually started out well but disintegrated) Most especially the above quoted sentence. I am SO tired of hearing about Caymanians rolling over and ‘taking it’ blahblahblah.. Caymanians have NEVER just ‘taken it’. Caymanians give it away!! We are a greedy people and I hate to admit that.

        To be honest, I think it’s the expats that are tired of rolling over and ‘taking it’ for the past many many years. It’s only now that there is an avenue to state opinions anonymously without fear of getting their permit rejected.

        And more importantly, THAT is NOT the reason why we hear about racism here!! I have grown up with it all my life and it isn’t because of mentality like the above that you mention.

        We need to pull ourselves up by the boot straps and quit waiting on Dart to fix everything. He will not be fixing the economy I can promise you that. (Even though with his wallet, he probably could but then the govment would spend the debt back up again anyway)

        ps. it was hard for me not to correct your spelling… but I didn’t mind it and I knew what you were trying to say.

    • Anonymous says:

       "very much of your life"    well, some of your life.  1/35 or so

  33. Dan Dan says:

    Dear Mr. Voiculescu,

    I have been following your story and I was shocked at the total lack of common sense our Judicial Department possess. I am ashamed, that once again we have managed to dispel someone from our Islands who was hard-working, dedicated and called Cayman home.

    There is no way my apology can possibly right the wrongs done to you and your family and I am so sorry for the loss of your father but I hope that one day you will find it in your heart to forgive.

    I wholeheartedly wish you every success in bringing legal action against this system as it seems to be the only thing that will teach them to tread carefully when dealing with people’s lives and livelyhoods.

    As you know this is no the first case where Justice has taken a back seat in court proceedings but I do hope it will be among the last.

    I wish you and your family all the happiness and success the future holds and maybe one day you will be back on our shore again enjoying what you love.


    Dan Dan 

    The R.E.A.L Caymanian

  34. Jingo Jango says:

    A very sad story. I believe that it is difficult to appreciate the injustice of the justice system until you become a participant. As with democracy, it simply is the fairest system we have come up with, but isn’t always fair. This case illustrates why individuals need protections. It frightens me that in a system that is still trying to find its footing, the attorney general is pushing to restrict individual rights and freedoms (rt to silence and to require the crown to prove its case against you without adverse presumptions being made against you) notwithstanding that his prosecutors do not demonstrate fair reasonable judgment. I hesitate, but who was on the bench at trial?

    Mr. Voiculescu, good luck in pursuing your malicious prosecution / abuse of office matter. I hope that Mourant is able to proceed on a success fee basis. Your ordeal would be funny if it was not true.

    • mariusvoiculescu says:

      Thank you.  You sum up some excellent concerns.  Some of the changes are truly frightening.

  35. Anonymous says:

    What an amazing story. Lots of food for thought in this story!