Bodden not guilty over guns hidden in toy

| 05/11/2010

(CNS): A jury of five women and two men took less than two hours to find Cassandra Bodden not guilty of the importation of firearms on Friday afternoon following a mistrial earlier this year. Bodden was finally acquitted over four guns and more than 420 bullets found in a toy car which was shipped to her from the United States. The prosecution had claimed that Bodden knew the weapons were hidden in the package, while 26-year-old Bodden had always protested her innocence, saying she did not know and had made it abundantly clear she did not know. (Photo Dennie Warren Jr)

For the second time a jury heard the crown’s case against Bodden regarding the incident  which took place in April 2009. Tirsha Hutchinson for the prosecution claimed that Bodden had deliberately contacted a number of police officers with whom she was friends to ask about the package to cover her tracks as she knew the guns were hidden inside the toy car. In her defence however, Ben Toner had argued her case that she was not aware of what was in the package and her reasons for contacting them was because she was unsure about collecting a package when she was not expecting one.

When she realised it was from someone she knew when she saw the handwriting on the documents she decided it may be a joke from a friend and so made plans to collect it. The fact that she had notified the authorities that she was not expecting it was the reason why it was examined and the guns discovered. Toner had argued in both the first and second trial that she had assisted the authorities in preventing these weapons from making it on to the streets but instead of being commended she was being charged with a crime she did not commit.

When the judge sent the jury out at lunchtime on Friday after he summed up the case the seven members returned a few minutes later with one question – Why had Bodden not taken the advise of her police friends to not collect the package? The judge told the jury that was something they have to decide for themselves. Less than two hours later they returned with the not guilty verdict and acquitted the twenty six year old women.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations Cassandra!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    I’m still wrestling with a few questions:-

    1.Why would the shipper send these items to a person here (who from what I read above is know to him/her) and not tell the receiver to anticipate them and give instructions for what to do with them once received?

    2. Why did the shipperfeel he/she could send these items in this way to the receiver?  Did he/she just hope the receiver would magically know what to do with them or did he/she have some previous agreement?

    3. I read way back when the first trial took place that the receiver said she wanted to buy this kiddie car but never did and therefore found it strange that it magically was sent to her (is this still accurate).

    I’m not saying the verdict was not the right one, I have no idea about that.  There just seems to be a number of unanswered questions in addition to what have the authorities done to pursue the shipper!

  3. Anonymous says:

     First of all, shipping companies check(scan) the package contents in order to ensure safety. In order for the package to have reached Cayman there would need to have been knowledge of the package by someone in the shipping industry. So I say check the shipping companies procedures on the day of the delivery of that package as they have records.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Okay, the jury came back with a "Not Guilty" verdict but that shouldn’t be the end of the investigations, we need to find out who the "sender" was and who the guns were intended for. I know from my own experience when I’m shipping items from overseas whether by air or ship they ask for a photo ID. So, why haven’t we heard who the "Shipper" was?

    We cannot simply ignore the fact that four guns and 420 rounds of ammunition came to this island. With all of the recent gun crime taking place we need to ensure that we uncover who sent these guns because I’m sure he / she has tried to "replace" the fouled shipment.

    Customs & RCIP we need answers on this one!

    • Anonymous says:

      From my understanding the person who sent the package is locked up in the US for charges similar to this case.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Glad she got off. Pretty sure she was unaware of what was really being sent. (And whoever wrote the "Spouse, myself and friends" comment…u just got PWNED by CNS classic!

  6. Anonymous says:

    I am glad that this ordeal is finally over forthis young lady. Whilst I so not know her I can imagine how she has felt and the tremendous stress that was brought to bear upon her and her family. To those of you who are commenting negatively towards her please remember that she was always innocent until found guilty and so remember that she was found innocent.

    • Legal Beagle says:

      As a matter of law you are wrong.  There is no "presumption" of innocence in the technical legal sense of a presumption.  Rather the phrase "innocent until proven guilty", or originally, "Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat ", simply affirms that the burden of establishing guilt rests on the prosecution and each element of the crime must be established by credible evidence.

      So a finding of "not guilty" is not a finding of "innocence", rather it is a finding that the prosecution were unable to establish through the use of admissible evidence that the elements of the crime were proven to the satisfaction of the jury to the standard of beyond reasonable doubt.  A jury is not asked if someone is innocent.  Rather they are asked if they are satisfied that guilt has been proved – there is a big difference.


  7. Anonymouse says:

    That quantity of guns and ammunition was obviously arranged by organised crime to play a part in our present criminal activity.

    If the young lady was innocent, then let her walk free. However someone or some group was responsible for that shipment of guns and ammunition and they too are still free to do it again.

    The future will bring out the truth, because if the responsible party is left on the loose, it is only a matter of time before they will try again. Hopefully the vigilance of the Customs department will nip it again and the responsible party will also get caught.

    My gut feeling is that it is only a matter of time before the real truth will come out regarding this and other shipments of guns and ammunition to these islands.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So my spouse, myself and 2 friends submitted a total of 7 comments over 12 hours. XXXXXXX

    CNS: As usual when people accuse CNS of being biased, in this case quite nastily,  it is because you lack either the capacity or the inclination (or both) to think it through. Just because we allow people like you to comment anonymously does not mean that we are willing to libel someone on your behalf. When a person has been tried and found not guilty by a court of law, they are innocent as far as society is concerned. Tocontinue to try that person in the media is not only morally wrong (try to imagine that you, your spouse or your two friends were in a similar situation) but would be defamatory. Read the CNS comment policy before you comment again.

    Given that you, your spouse and your two friends are completely ignorant of the legal implications of your comments (none of which were published) I doubt very much that you have any insight into the legal niceties of this or any other court case.

    • Legal Beagle says:

      CNS -I don’t care about this specific case and am not commenting on it.  But you are simply wrong with your statement as a proposition of law.

      When someone has been tried and found not guilty, they have been found "not guilty".  That is all.  it is true that the media often mistakenly equate a finding of "not guilty" with a positive finding of "innocence" but that is not accurate.  Probably most of the comments you censored did cross the line and were validly censored, but the response you made was plain wrong.

      Indeed one can go further – saying that someone who is found not guilty did commit the acts in question is not necessarily defamation, since the defamation action would consider the accuracy of the allegation tested to the lower civil standard. 

      As a matter of law all that has been "proved" is that the prosecution failed to satisfy the jury with admissible evidence that the elements of the crime had been established beyond reasonable doubt. 

      If I steal from a shop, but the evidence to prove it is insufficient because a eye witness was not called, I could be found "not guilty".  However that finding does not mean that I was "innocent" or I did not steal.

      CNS: "Not necessarily defamation, since the defamation action would consider the accuracy of the allegation tested to the lower civil standard." We’re talking anonymous comments here, some malicious, and stated beliefs based on nothing, not a considered legal opinion about the case. The day may come when wehave to go to court to defend the comment section – Mac said as much the other day – but we would not do so by taking the moral low ground with a questionable defence.

      Clearly I’m not a lawyer and I’m not arguing with your legal definitions.

    • Anon says:

      You just need to have a look at all the "thumbs down" on various posts to see what people are really thinking – no comments necessary.

  9. Jab Jab says:

    Considering that the first jury got hung I think that’s pretty clear evidence that the case was not weak nor a mistake to bring. As someone else said she has been cleared by a jury of her peers and justice done but to have not brought what was obviously a relatively strong case would have been the greater injustice. Nothing went wrong with the case, the system worked. And whoever tried to use her as an unwitting conduit is now known by the police and customs of (probably) two countries. Good for her that she has been cleared and now she and everyone else can move on with their lives.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for Ms. Bodden

  11. Anonymous says:

    Whoever placed these guns & ammunition in her package needs to be apprehended – and I hope the case doesn’t end there; it should be an ongoing case to investigate – and I hope the Police/Legal will be in contact with the jurisdiction from which this package originated to get some help. Many innocent Cayman residents have had to go through this same problem – remember the Cayman Airways  case where employees at the airport were placing drugs in unnamed packages to be claimed in Miami – some served their jail time – others went free and are probably still doing the same thing to others right now!!  [check Legal/newspapers for details]  

    • Anonymous says:

      Whoever had a  part to play in this smuggling and other illegal activities will be tried one day in the highest Court of Law before the Almighty Judge who makes no mistakes!!

  12. flipper says:

    Cassandra Bodden has been found not guilty by a jury of her peers.  Sheis innocent.  Though I do not know who she is, and I know even less about her case, one has to trust the judgement of the people who were provided with the facts of her case.  This is not the first, nor the last time that the Legal Department has been wrong, gone after someone who is innocent, XXXX

  13. Anonymous says:

    Was this a Customs Case?

    Was the file properly prepared? Who did it? Where did it go wrong? Those guns for imported for someone. Therefore there is a guilty party walking free right now who may try to import guns again or probably did it already while this case was being tried.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Did the police or legal ever consider the damage they were doing to this young woman’s life. Thank goodness the jury and judge saw through this mass injustice. And to think that the new laws puts more power in the police hands. I wonder if the police want this one to register on their report card.

    • Anonymous says:

      23:04 If you know anything about police procedures ,it cannot be recorded on a conviction card in Police Criminal Record Office if there was no conviction. There is no injustice, in fact, Justice prevailed. That is why she was acquitted by a Jury of her peers. Thanks to trial by Jury.

      In our system of laws, the  police is bound to act on reasonable suspicion of a crime although there is no hard evidence as yet. If upon investigation, there is insufficient evidence to form a priam facie case,the police is free to release the suspect. The Young lady has not lost her reputation because she can sue any who accuse her of the crime for libel and defamation of character because its not true.She was not convicted, also she can sue for damages. Any one of us can be stopped and searched by the police. Any one of us can be questioned by the police. In neither case would we loose our good reputation.

  15. A Concerned Young Caymanian Father says:

    Ride free, my young one! This is GREAT news!!! Now, if only she could be compensated for pain and suffering……..

  16. Just Saying says:

    Happy for Ms. Bodden- she dosent have the appearance (though looks can be deceiving) of someone who would do this. Trust now she will be able to get her life back together as I am sure this has been a harrowing experience.

  17. ricky says:

    Good for Cassandra! 

    The Court has ruled in her favor. She has the opportunity to move on with her life. It is so precious to be free from the fear of being incarcerated.  This is definitely a learning experience.

  18. Anonymous says:

    When I initially read of this case I got the feeling this young lady was innocent.  Her actions (despite the assertions of the prosecution) were simply not those of a criminal trying to cover their tracks.  I couldn’t understand why this case got so far down the line in the circumstances and I feel very sorry for some of the awful experiences the young lady must have gone through as a consequence of these actions. 

  19. Anonymous says:

    The evidence was weak from the start.