Tourist robbery case collapses

| 06/12/2011

court good.jpg(CNS): The crown's case against two men who pleaded not guilty to robbing two visitors in East End in February has collapsed. The judge found no case to answer against one of the men and found the second not guilty after the crown was unable to produce any substantial evidence against eitherof the defendants. Following the fatal shooting of its key witness, coupled with the refusal of a third co-defendant, who had pleaded guilty to the crime, to testify against the men, the prosecution is left with just one offender in connection with the crime that had rocked the community.

The daylight robbery took place at Barefoot Beach, a secluded area off the Queen’s Highway in East End, when three men with their faces covered approach the couple, who were visitors to the island, while they were sitting on the beach. The men threatened the couple and grabbed the man round the neck and demanded cash.

He gave the robbers his wallet, which contained only $20, and made it clear they had nothing else of value to steal. As they made their escape on foot from the beach, the robbers smashed the window of the couple’s rental car, which was parked nearby, and stole an underwater camera. The victims told police that the men were armed with a baseball bat and a knuckle duster.

Martin McLaughlin (19), Cody McLaughlin (18) and Trent Bodden (30) were arrested by police after the event, along with a number of other suspects from the district. One of those suspects was Asher McGaw, who said he was not the culprit during his interview, but said that Trent Bodden had told him that he along with Cody McLaughlin and Martin McLaughlin had committed the crime.

In the wake of McGaw’s evidence, Martin McLaughlin pleaded guilty while Cody McLaughlin and Bodden both denied having any part in the crime.

Prior to the trial, however, McGaw was shot and killed in a spate of gang related killings, which was not connected to this case but left the crown with a paucity of witnesses. The crown had canvassed Martin McLaughlin to testify against his co-offenders but the man has refused and was remanded in custody until his sentence hearing on 16 December, where he will take the rap for the crime alone.

The judge found that there was no case to answer against Cody McLaughlin, and with only McGaw’s police statement as evidence against him, the judge found Trent Bodden not guilty.

McGaw died from multiple gunshot wounds to his head and body, which was discovered on John McLean Drive just behind the district clinic by a police officer on patrol in East End in the early hours of the morning of Thursday 22 September. 18-year-old Chakame Jamelle Scott was charged with the fatal shooting in October and is currently on remand awaiting trial.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    XXXXX Me and my wife spent last week in cayman and I was seriously pissed with the fact that she was actually scared to go anywhere. My Mother in law usually come but didn't want to this time becaus she was scared. I wanted to go to papagallos and she was like I'm not going up that way, I wanted to go to public beach and she was scared. I finally convinced her to go to Rum Point but it was aggrevating with her looking over her shoulder every five minutes, I couldn't even go snorkling becuase she didn't want to be left alone. Same thing when I stopped and wanted to run into fosters, she didn't want to wait in the car. This was clearly the worst trip to cayman I ever had, I have never had to deal with this in the past. Looks like it's time to find someplace that's still a safe haven.

    • Anonymous says:

      Seriously?  I think your making this up.  You need to get a reality check, this is the biggest load of bull I have heard.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am just one person and this is one example which I’m sure is getting more and more common place. Pretty soon All Inclusive resorts will start popping up around Cayman just like Jamaica because the word on the street will be don’t go outside of our walls for you own safety.


        This reply is also a grreat example of how Caymanians are in Denial, just like the ones saying foreigners are the ones doing all these crimes and saying that my unemployed Son who always has a pocket full of money is a good boy.


        Keep the attitude and you won’t have to worry about the government threatening the future Caymans youth because you will have only created the next generation of Criminals yourselves. Which means the future of Cayman will be foreigners running the show which Caymanians fill the Jails and only have mediocre jobs.


        The answer to this is to educate your children teach them morals and prepare them to be the leaders of the next generation. It’s clear the for the most part this generation has already been ruined by the Time Out Mentality.


        Look in the Mirror and you will see the root of your issues.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you don't think long term visitors are becoming afraid of the evolving crime and lawlessness then your head is in the sand.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Justice has been done. These two good boys can now get on with their lives.

  3. so Anonymous says:

    The people of Caman know and knew who did the crime, is doing the crime and will do the crime.  What are they doing about it?

    Blaming everyone else.

    Blaming everyone else works here.  No other action required. Look at what is known as leadership here.

    How many failures are to be allowed?  As many as it takes to get people to change. (a whole lot more).

    • The World is Watching says:

      “How many failures are to be allowed? As many as it takes to get people to change…”

      That presumes that change will happen from the inside. It is always possible that tourists, such as my family, will simply stop coming to the Islands and leave Cayman to itself (as it appears many in Cayman actually want, given the way locals talk about the expats).

      I remember my first trip to the Dominican Republic where we stayed at a 5-star on a beautiful beach. There was a trio of guards at the gate that enters the area, shotguns in hand. I thought that was weird, but if that’s what it took to keep the local criminal element at bay, so be it.The resort was fabulous, and all the watersports you could ask for were there for the taking. The problem I see with Cayman is that it doesn’t have a trio of guards at any gates, shotguns in hand, to defend me from the local criminal element. That’s why this year I’m going back to the DR. I can easily affort the cost of the CI venues, but why bother? Safety is more important, and frankly the DR costs a whole lot less for the same beach, the same water, and food and drink that’s as good as most (though not all) venues in CI. Simple choice, this “change from the outside”.

      • Anonymous says:

        Your comments re Caymanians not wanting tourists or expats are unfair. Caymanians have genuine grievances if you would take the time to listen.

        • Anonymous says:

          Au contraire, any comment about Caymanians not wanting tourists or expats are SPOT ON.  The grievances of Caymanians are a different subject.


  4. beachbaymeatballs says:

    It sucks,but that is just the way the law is especially as it relates to evidence.The Judge had no choice but to do what he did in this matter.

  5. Anonymous says:

    There is a good chance that these guys didn't even do it.

    The police might pick up people that are associated with gang members, to give the impression to the public, that they are "on" it. These people might live in the same neighbourhood, but that does not mean they are bad people.

    Generally the public assumes they are guilty, because were there is smoke there is fire.

    Later in court these cases fall apart.

    I think the problem started two decades ago when the gangs were evolving and authorities stuck there heads in the sand.

    And today, politicians don't care, their only interests are their own personal power and wealth.

    It is just the way the world works. . . . . . . .

  6. Anonymous says:

    I guess we should be greatful that one of the men pleaded guilty and will take his punishment. No one should blame him for not testifing against the others. He knows what could happen to him if he does. These men rob together, but think nothing of hurting each other if crossed. God be with them and may their hearts change some day for the better.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Another crying shame! In these violent crime cases, when are the Police going to present rock solid evidence and when is the Prosecutor going to make a case stick? Why is the Prosecutor taking these half-assed cases to Court, just to acquit the suspects? It is now the exception when a conviction is made, not the norm, and even those are overturned on appeal.  The entire Cayman legal system is broken.

    But there is an unusual feature of our system.  The entire Cayman legal system from Police to Prosecutor, including Prison management as an associated branch, is made up of non-Caymanians. Why is that? Does that happen anywhere else in the British Overseas Territories or the world?  Could that suggest there is no vested interest in ensuring that justice is done, or could it lend itself to that situation? I'm not accusing anyone but it begs questioning!!

    • Anonymous says:

      So what you're suggesting is that if only there were more Caymanian police, judges, prosecutors, lawyers, prison guards, administrators, etc. that the crime problem would be solved (but you're not accusing anyone, just making a well-thought-out serious suggestion). I would recommend that you pull your head out of the sand (and I'm trying to be polite here) but that would involve actually doing something other than blaming the Expats, once again, for all your problems. Oh, and please note, I'm not accusing anyone, just suggesting too.

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you know that is not what the poster was saying at all. We see the comments on here frequently "At least I have somewhere to go when it all goes horribly wrong". Obviously if this is not your home you do not have the same vested interest in ensuring that it survives.

        Many posters on here are happy to condemn the police so long as it is viewed as a Caymanian police force. However, when the point is made that those in command are in fact expats there are many thumbs down.  

        • Anonymous says:

          At what point has the RCIPS been viewed as a "Caymanian police force"?  We all know and it has been discussed ad nauseum ad infinitum that the RCIPS is chock full of expats.

          That has long been said to be part of the problem – they are just expats here for a paycheck and they don't really know or care about the community.

          Take your hatred of expats and shove it up your ass and when you feel like you're comfortable sitting down at a computer again, why don't you contribute something useful?



        • Anonymous says:

          Thanks for pointing out the obvious…my post was in answer to a question asked by an obvious outsider to the inner workings of Cayman's justice and social systems.

          Crime is first and foremeost, a social problem for which a criminal justice system must exist to control and punish.

          My comments clearly and concisely answers the questions of the poster who asks why the personnell manning Cayman's criminal justice system are mainly foreigners….shall I make it more plain then ?

          When Cayman's social problems with crime began to be a major issue, Cayman did not have enough educated and trained Caymanian nationals to fill the positions within the criminal justice system….while Cayman's untrained and uneducated nationals, as in any other country…are the main source of the criminal social problems created in Cayman.

          This is by no means saying that only Caymanians commit crime in Cayman or that the foreign nationals in the criminal justice system are not committed professionals in their roles….the individual's performances must speak for themselves.

          If fingers need to be pointed, they must be pointed at the education and political systems that are under the total control of Caymanians, where the politicians have kept education and training for their own Caymanian people as far less a priority than creating a political and criminal justice system that takes advantage of their social problems mainly created through a lack of proper education.

          Now that crime has become such a major social and economic problem, this approach is slowly changing but unfortunately, the horse has already bolted out of the gate.

    • Anonymous says:

      You've made some good points here;maybe I can shed a little light on your question, 'why is that ?'

      This is not meant to point fingers, just to suggest an answer.

      In Cayman's development stages in the early 80s, the level of education amongst Caymanians was very low, in general terms.

      The few who had degrees were in professional jobs, competing against those who didn't, and at a disadvantage by sheer numbers alone; Caymanians without a formal education were very antagonistic towards the few that did.

      As the economy of the country grew, the vocational jobs were being filled by foreign nationals, who again had the required training and experience, leaving the uneducated and untrained Caymanians on the fringes of society….and this is the result.

      The untrained and uneducated segment of Cayman's society became thebreeding ground for crime and criminals that it is today…even within the govt school system and the justice system, from police on up to judges, including prison officers, having been serviced by foreign nationals, from one particular country especially, has become its own enclosed culture….no country's foreign nationals, once they have gained an entrenched position in another country, is going to give up that position in favour of that country's nationals who could not make it their own in the first place.

      Human nature simply does not work like that.

      So, what you have now is a criminal element of mainly untrained and uneducated Caymanians who have never OWNED any stake in their own country who have to be policed, prisoned,  sentenced and cared for by foreign nationals who have been able to OWN their share of Cayman's society.

      It is a sad state of affairs but this is how it came to be this way.

      I, as a born educated and trained Caymanian living abroad, sent an e-mail to HM Northward Prison inquiring about the recruitment procedure for recently advertised prison officer positions…and have not and will not receive any type of reply.

      Why ?…because I am not of the nationality of the people who are in control and OWNERSHIP of the prison system in Cayman…those jobs will be reserved for people of their own nationality.

      Does this help to answer your question ?


      • Anonymous says:

        The RCIP is not all educated and they are not Caymanian


        • Anonymous says:

          You don't have to have a college degree to have common sense.  Even if the RCIP wasn't "college educated" they could still be good police officers. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Great case you put together there RCIPS.  Guess you need to send everyone back to evidence gathering school.

    Thanks for making us feel safe.

  9. Anonymous says:

    This island is in a sad state when the main priority is to build a port….Don't be fooled Cayman….the cruise ships will come to these shores without a port…..they have been doing it for years because we have been a safe and clean port of call that is in a strategic location for their Western Caribbean routes, however if the violent crimes continue here and continue to go unpunished, NO ONE will want to come here by air or sea and that is something worth considering more urgently and carefully than a port.   

  10. KC 7 says:

    Mann just look at what is happening to this place! This slip shod investigation BS has got to stop! can you imagine how traumatised these poor people were,and what they must now think about our law enforcement agencies. Yet they now more powers to abuse us It is absolutely ridiculous what going in this place.

  11. Anonymous says:

    It's a bit of a problem when the main witness is murdered!

  12. Duppy says:

    Welcome to Cayman where our drink drivers can kill you and our thugs and mug you with impunity.

    • Just a tourist says:

      Thanks for the welcome, I think, but I’ll not be coming around anymore.

  13. Mc Laughin', Not says:

    I bet Martin McLaughlin is not Laughin'.  There can't be any inducment in the world that would encourage Martin M to "rat" on his buddies.  What a mess – kill the witnesss, perfect. 

  14. Anonymous says:

    What a shame.

  15. SKEPTICAL says:

    Nice one Cayman – I suppose we can only be grateful that the victims suffered no serious physical harm, or the bad publicity might have been almost impossible to overcome. As it is, on the old theory that one person tells twelve others, and each of those tells twelve more, and so on and so on………Why wasn’t the Police witness in protective custody – surely it should have occurred to one of our highly trained officers that someone might try to “shut him up” .

    • Anonymous says:

      Police custody………. wasn't he one of the gang killings.  Doubt he would have gone into police custody!

    • The Prophet says:

      Skeptical, I think that if the police saw it was necessary to put this victim, young man in protective custody they would have done just that, but there was apparently no need to, besides as I am made to understand the victims killing had nothing to do with this case.  So the fact remains that in this case it was not the police falult, it was not the Judge fault, but just just that there was not enough evidence to convict.

      It is amazing how people will judge cases before they know the facts.

      No evidence, no case.   However what goes around comes around, and God watches every one.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Well, knowing the victims, this sucks!

  17. every day says:

    Every day we become a little more unstable and unattractive to visitors, we are heading straight down the path of some of our Caribbean neighbours and without leaders who are willing to stand up and lead us out of this mess, we are going to suffer the same fate. I am looking to the horizon for the appearance of a loyal, honest and firm Caymanian who is willing to take up the challenge of fixing our problems….someone who is untarnished by politics and willing to do the job for the salary and not for the perks and intangible advantages…..


  18. Anonymous says:

    Nothing new here! Next case for acquittal please..


    What ajoke our police and legal system are!!

  19. Anonymous says:

    How many pathetic attemps at procecution are going to occur and fail before the powersa that be accept there is a problem within the legal department. How many failures are to be allowed? Someone needs to step up and explain to the community what the problem is and how it will be fixed.

    • Anonymous says:

      This is the very reason people are not willing to give information to the Police.  It is just a waste of good time and energy.  The Court sucks.  What are we paying thosePolice and Judges for?