Jewel heist costs thief eight years in jail

| 14/06/2013

mag jewellers.jpg(CNS): As Simon Julio Newball marked his 37th birthday in Grand Court Thursday, he also heard the judge hand down an eight year custodial sentence for his conviction by a 6 juror panel of theft and arson. Though he had denied all of the allegations, Newball was found guilty of stealing jewellery valued at US$308,194 from Magnum Jewellers in George Town along with two other masked men. The three men had entered the store with an axe and committed a smash 'n' grab raid just a few days before Christmas in 2011 during business hours. Newball was also found guilty of arson of the getaway vehicle which was found burnt out by police shortly after the daylight jewel heist took place.

Justice Alexander Henderson had directed the jury to return a not guilty verdict to robbery, which was one of the chargesagainst the George Town man because the judge said there was no evidence to support a guilty verdict.

However, the judge explained that a "lesser included charge" of theft was to be considered instead because no force was used by the three people who entered the store against anyone during the heist. Newball was also charged with theft of the vehicle, but again Justice Henderson dismissed that charge on the grounds that there was no evidence to support it.

In summing up the trial for the jury Justice Henderson pointed to the evidence given by a salesman in the store at the time of the heist. He had told the court that at around 11am that day, a Toyota Rav 4 pulled up to the store on Cardinal Avenue. A masked man with an axe then entered the store and smashed the display cases. Then the other men made their way into the store and grabbed a considerable amount of high end jewellery. The prosecution counsel submitted during the sentencing that there was a sense of “professionalism to the offense” because of the obvious planning and attempt to conceal the evidence by torching the stolen getaway vehicle.

During the sentencing hearing however, Newball's defence attorney swayed the judge to run the sentence for the arson offense concurrently with the sentence given for the theft as he said it could be seen as a "classic theft" and an attempt to dispose of evidence.
The court had heard from the police officers who arrested Newball in January after the heist that two rings fell from his pants after he was handcuffed but Newball insisted that he was innocent and that the jewellery had been planted. The crown also had argued that Newball's extensive criminal history was an aggravating feature as he had five previous convictions for burglary along with other minor offenses. Counsel also invited the judge to consider a nine year prison term to act as a deterrent seeing as ten years is the maximum sentencing in the Cayman Islands for theft.

Nick Hoffman who represented Newball during his trial and sentencing agreed that he had a less than impressive record but that there was another side to the man who had spent so much time behind prison bars and that he had grown up without his father.

In his conclusion, Justice Henderson explained that the arson and aggravating criminal history would elevate his sentence substantially and that Newball is a long time abuser of illegal drugs. He stated that "both charges must be reflected in his sentence” he handed down the eight year sentence with time served for the theft and gave Newball two years for the arson which he ordered to run concurrently.

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  1. Anonymous says:

     "he had five previous convictions for burglary along with other minor offenses". Could we please get a three strike and your out law! I dont belive he only got 8 Years! That is sad considering he has a history as long as his. I think LIFE would be more appropriate!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Another Robber going to Jail. What has happened with the po po? Something has changed for the better.

  3. Kadafe says:

    Good. Bout damn time they got this criminal of the road for awhile. Hopefully on this sentence he will finally grow up.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So how comes no one congratulating the police, the legal system etc. for a job well done? Or is this too good news?


    Congrats to all involved!

  5. Anonymous says:

    Can someone at Immigration look into this criminal Caymanian status? Is he a Caymanian by birth to Caymanian parents? He has been a career criminal all his life from a juvenile. We need to get him off this island. Sorry to say he will not change. Please no excuses other persons with greater challenges have raisen to become good citizens.

    • Anon says:

      Sorry, 9:44. He is a born Caymanian. Mother an East Ender I think, father a Honduranian I think. But definetily born and grew up here and has been a menace from very early childhood.

    • Anonymous says:

      He Caymanian.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Not long enough. What do you suppose the would have done with that axe if challenged by an unarmed person?

  7. Anon says:

    Julio represents the failure of parenting and limitations of what social services can do with someone so determined not to be helped. He has been a very major problem in our society and schools since the age of five – yes, five. 

    • Anonymous says:

      The vast majority of criminals have brain structures that make them more disposed to criminality.  Other factors may provide the trigger for them to decide criminality is the way forward, but the reality is for most of them they are built that way.  That is why rehabilitation is a waste of time.

  8. Wiffleballchamp says:

    There was an axe.  Did the judge forget about the axe?  What does he mean no threat?  The criminals were carrying an axe. 

  9. Anonymous says:

    I thought Robbery attacked 15 year sentences?!

  10. Anonymous says:

    If he had raped someone, he would be on probation now. I am sick and fed up of a legal system that declares money to be god and people as disposable. Baronness Scotland, I would love to debate you.

  11. Frank says:

    If he was the only person arrested and refused to give evidence against the other two conspirators, he should have been charged the maximum. This will then set a precedent for people reluctant to give up accomplices.

    • Anonymous says:

      The record that he has should've given him a few life times.  He is the type that should not see daylight.