Archive for August 23rd, 2013

Child rapist gets 9+ years

| 23/08/2013 | 29 Comments

(CNS): A 38-year-old man convicted of rape and indecent assault on a child was handed a sentence of nine years and three months by visiting judge, Justice Malcom Swift, on Friday. The man from Cayman Brac was found guilty by a jury in July of raping his victim when she was just twelve years old and then forcing the same girl to have oral sex with him when she was just thirteen. The jury acquitted the defendant on several other counts. However, the judge treated the offences, both of which occurred five years ago in 2008, separately, and handed out two consecutive sentences rather than concurrent. Justice Swift arrived at eight years for the rape and 15 months for the indecent assault, based on sentencing guidelines and other cases as well as the aggravating and mitigating circumstances in the case.

At the time of the offences, the defendant was married to the child's mother and so considered to be in breech of trust as there was a family connection between him and his victim. He was also accused of threatening the young girl into silence and raped her when her mother was absent from the home. In addition, he had committed the indecent assault when the child's care situation was considered vulnerable.

According to the social enquiry report, he had failed to accept his guilt despite the verdict. Nevertheless, the judge found some mitigating circumstances in that there was no violence or weapon used during the rape and the victim was not physically injured.

He said that the defendant did not ejaculate and, despite the traumatic experience, the young woman had shown signs of recovery from the ordeal and there was evidence to suggest that there was no serious lasting trauma. In addition, the court was in receipt of many excellent character references for perpetrator, whose family had continued to stand behind him.

But he also found several aggravating factors, including the victim's age, the circumstances of the child being particularly vulnerable when the offences were committed, as well as the threats made to the victimnot to speak of what he had done to her, telling her no one would believe her and no one cared and she would be made out to be a liar.

Explaining why he had elected to run the sentences consecutively, the judge told the defendant that he could not treat the crimes as continuous serial offending and had to give effect to the jury's findings and treat each incident separately. He emphasized the seriousness of the rape and his concerns over the threats. Pointing to unrelated previous offences of violence, the judge said all the defendant's offending seemed to have been fueled by alcohol.

"It seems that drink has been behind all this and drinking to excess has been your downfall," the judge observed.

Taking into account the sentence guidelines, the judge also said he had to keep matters in perspective and to consider the sentences in other cases.

As he left the dock and clearly still clinging to his innocence, the convicted sex offender declared the situation was "ridiculous", as he was taken down to the courthouse cells before his return to HMP Northward.

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Missing teen found safe and well

| 23/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Nekayla Evanda Walton (16) who had been missing since Sunday, 18 August, has been found safe and well, police said Friday afternoon. West Bay police officers located her in the Mount Pleasant area a short time ago. Her family has been informed, police said. Last Sunday, she and her mother were driving in Mount Pleasant Road but after a disagreement, Nekayla opened the car door and ran off. The RCIPS thanked the media and the public for their assistance.

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Fugitive extradited to GCM

| 23/08/2013 | 27 Comments

(CNS): A man who escaped from the George Town Police Station while in police custody on 25 October 2009 has been extradited from Jamaica and is now at HMP Northward. Dainian Cecil Henry (32) was escorted back to Grand Cayman yesterday (Thursday 22 August)  by officers from the RCIPS and transported to prison earlier today, police said. Four years ago Henry ran from the central lock-up after giving local police officers the slip, knocking aside a woman carrying a baby who was coming into the station as he escaped. Henry, who is also wanted in connection with firearm’s offences, was found guilty in absentia in November 2009 of being concerned with the possession and intent to supply of cocaine.

The court found that while in Jamaica Henry had supplied more than 20 cocaine pellets to a witness, who had swallowed and transported them to the Cayman Islands, where he was later arrested.

Magistrate Grace Donalds explained that police had also testified during the trial and corroborated the witness's statements. The pellets were reportedly passed by the witness while he was in police custody and Donalds said the crown had proved its case against Henry, regardless of his absence.

Following his escape, the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service offered a $5000 reward for information leading to his arrest or conviction on top of the Crimestoppers usual US$1000. He was wanted for possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession of cocaine with intent to supply, escaping custody, attempted robbery, resisting arrest, threatening violence and giving a false name and date of birth to the police. 

In December 2012 police in Jamaica arrested Henry. According to media reports in that country, Henry was captured by members of the St Ann operational support team during an operation in the Lillyfield District, in Bamboo, St Ann.

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Exam factory approach ‘damaging education’

| 23/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(The Telegraph): Senior examiners and business leaders in the UK warned that standards were being put at risk by an escalating trend of early test entries combined with multiple resits. Schools are increasingly entering children for GCSEs at 14 or 15 — and forcing them to retake the same test paper as many as eight times a year — because of “perverse incentives” created by official league tables, they said. The head of Britain’s biggest exam board warned the practice was doing “real damage” to pupils’ understanding of key subjects such as maths, as tests eat into valuable lesson time and lead to children being drilled to pass. Children are also significantly less likely to gain good marks at 15 than 16 because of the loss of the extra year’s schooling.

The disclosure came as figures showed the number of pupils gaining good GCSEs dropped for the second time in two years, and by the largest margin on record.

In all, the proportion of test papers awarded at least a C — considered a good pass — was down by 1.3 percentage points to 68.1 per cent. The proportion of tests marked A* or A fell by more than one percentage point to 21.3 per cent. A series of key reforms to GCSEs — including a toughening up of science exams, higher grade boundaries in maths and a shift towards traditional subjects such as languages – had been linked with the drop in headline grades.

But examiners today warned the most significant factor was the trend of entering pupils for exams early. Many schools do this to allow pupils to “bank” a good grade before moving on to other subjects. It also gives pupils more time to resit if they fail to gain A* to C grades — thereby boosting schools’ positions in official rankings.

The number of 15-year-olds taking at least one GCSE rose by more than a third this year, from 416,477 to 507,568. They made up almost a quarter of pupils taking maths exams this year.

Mark Dawe, chief executive of the OCR exam board, said: “The results are far lower for 15-year-olds — these qualifications are designed for 16-year-olds.”

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Tourist suspected of running out on Ritz bill

| 23/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS) Update Friday 4:30pm: The Ritz-Carlton, Cayman has dropped the charges against a guest who tried to leave the island without paying his bill after he settled the account. The 43-year-old US citizen was arrested at Owen Roberts International Airport on Wednesday on suspicion of making off without payment. He had been staying at the Ritz on the West Bay Road but was stopped at the airport before he was able to leave the island without paying a bill of more than $10,000. However, the hotel has withdrawn the complaint now that he has paid up and the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions has  informed the RCIPS that there will be no charges in this case. 

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Ex-cop: ‘DPC threatened jail’

| 23/08/2013 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A former police officer who was in the RCIPS for more than ten years has accused police management of forcing him from the service using threats that he would be prosecuted for unfounded but very serious criminal allegations if he did not resign. In an unusual but concerning Grand Court civil case, the former traffic cop, Herbert Muschette, presented his case in a law suit this week, claiming that a combination of threats made by Deputy Police Commissioner Steve Brougham (left) and a whispering campaign against him drove him to resign against his will, but where it was clear that a police officer suspected of cime and corruption could be allowed to walk away without fear of prosecution so long as he left RCIPS.

However, as there was never any evidence that Muschette was, in fact, the shady cop that the management had suggested, he is now seeking past wages since his 2010 departure, a declaration that he was unlawfully dismissed and his job back.

During the progress of the case before Justice Alex Henderson this week DPC Brougham was called as a witness on behalf of the attorney general, who is defending the action. Brougham admitted that he suspected Muschette was involved in criminal and corrupt activity, which the service was willing to ignore should the officer leave of his own accord. However, he denied pressuring Muschette to resign 'or else', merely that he should consider his position.

He did not believe that Muschette was a proper person to serve in the RCIPS but he said he did nothing more than alert the officer to the management’s knowledge of the accusations and left him alone to consider his future.

Defending the action, the counsel from the Attorney General’s Chamber representing the RCIPS said Muschette’s decision to resign was entirely his own. She said that when Muschette was transferred from the traffic department, a post he really liked, to regular policing at George Town police station and following two general complaints that were filed with the Professional Standards Unit against him, he had resigned. Whatever Brougham did or did not say had no real influence on a decision he was considering long before the meeting, the crown claimed.

The meeting in question was when Brougham called the officer in when he was on sick leave as a result of stress. The senior officer claimed that there was intelligence that the ex-traffic cop was involved in drug trafficking, fraternizing with criminals, passing information to them and soliciting female motorists for sex in exchange for not being ticketed for traffic offences.

However, despite significant efforts by Muschette for disclosure, including a long drawn out freedom of information request, the RCIPS did not appear to have any evidence at all to support the allegations. There were two Professional Standard Unit complaints against Muschette, one was from another officer and another from a person arrested for traffic offences who had accused Muschette of being heavy handed during the arrest.

Brougham claimed during his evidence that the very serious allegations against the officer were word of mouth from people who did not want to make formal statements or registered police informants who could not. The deputy commissioner told the court that the RCIPS was not in a position at the time to instigate a proper investigation into the allegations as they were down some 85 officers. As a result, despite the seriousness of the allegations, Brougham said he had a meeting with Muschette to make it clear to him the RCIPS management was aware of what he was involved with, which he hoped would make him consider resigning.

Muschette claims that he was entirely innocent of the serious charges and was a diligent police officer who succumbed to stress related illnesses after the complaint about him being heavy handed arose. He said that he believed he was pressured by Brougham, who, Muschette said, made it very clear he would find a way to prosecute him if he did not leave.

Although Muschette had protested his innocenceand pointed to his ten year record to Brougham, he said the deputy commissioner dismissed his claims and told him that he had put away police officers who had served thirty years without concern and he would just be another one.

As a result, five weeks after his meeting with Brougham he succumbed to the pressure because he began to believe that Brougham had instigated a campaign against him to make sure he quit his police job. Muschette claimed the “resign or go to jail threat” was very clear from Brougham. The former officer also stated that he believed Brougham had turned his mentor, DPC Anthony Ennis, against him, and he also began to hold him under suspicion.

When he took the stand, Ennis denied questioning Muschette at church about the allegations. He said that all he had ever discussed with Muschette was to encourage him to stay in the RCIPS, regardless of difficult times. Ennis said that he knew exactly what it was like to be wrongly accused after his own experiences during Operation Tempura. Ennis had been at the centre of false allegations which triggered the ill-fated police corruption investigation, which began as a covert operation led by Martin Bridger in 2008 and still continues to plague the RCIPS today.

Ironically, at the same time that Brougham suspected that Muschette was a crooked officer, the police were supposed to be examining the findings and fallout of that corruption investigation but there was no indication that Muschette was ever named in the evidence collected during the Tempura probe.

Muschette said that following the meeting with Brougham and as a result of various other related incidents, with his colleagues asking him about the allegations, the pressure became so great that he made the mistake of resigning, although he did not want to quit his job.

As DCP Brougham did not follow the correct process to have him removed from the RCIPS via a disciplinary hearing, which needed to be before the commissioner, Muschette, who now works as a delivery driver, moved to take legal action against the RCIPS. He is seeking a declaration from the courts that Brougham's actions amounted to an unlawful dismissal and, as a result, he remains a serving officer and entitled to his wages over the last three years as well as pension contributions and reinstatement.

Justice Alex Henderson retired to deliberate on Thursday afternoon and is scheduled to deliver his decision Friday.

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Customs man acquitted

| 23/08/2013 | 24 Comments

(CNS): It took the jury around four hours on Thursday to find David Karl Lobo not guilty of being concerned in the importation of cocaine. The former customs officer was accused of being wrapped up in a major drug smuggling incident via Owen Roberts International Airport using rum cake boxes, following the arrest of three men in the United Kingdom some three years ago. The 27-year-old was alleged to have been the "inside man" of the operation by having around two kilos of cocaine delivered to a passenger, who was travelling to the UK, at Grand Cayman’s airport. The drugs were hidden in four Tortuga Rum Company cake boxes in a bag with some cigarettes. The crown had relied on Lobo’s prints being on that bag and circumstantial evidence but the jury was not convinced that he was involved in the conspiracy.

Acquitted of the charge, the defendant walked free from the courtroom with his family and a sense of relief after a case that had dragged on for almost three years.

Presiding judge Malcolm Swift told the jury in his summary of the case that the defendant was of good character and had no previous convictions. He also reminded them that Lobo had previously alerted his supervisor that Norrie Solomon-Hydes was under suspicion for drug trafficking and should be stopped and searched upon his arrival. Solomon is among the three men who were arrested in London for this matter.

The case had triggered a massive investigation in the local customs department, which had involved about 30 officers, several of whom were suspended from duty, but Lobo was in the end the only officer charged.

However, the prosecution failed to convince the jury beyond a reasonable doubt that Lobo was guilty of being involved and they did not believe there was enough evidence to suggest he had knowingly gone along with another officer to the storeroom in order to identify the large Tortuga Rum Company bag that contained the drugs. It was the crown's case that Lobo had asked his co-worker, Bruce Powery, to deliver the bag to Earl Reeves McLaughlin, who would be waiting in the departure lounge of the Owen Roberts International Airport that day, 8 September 2010.

Defence attorney, Trevor Burke, QC, was able to point out to the panel of jurors that the only real evidence the prosecution had against his client was fingerprints on a bag and a coincidence in timing of events that had happened on the day the cocaine made its way through the airport. Burke told the jury that there was no evidence to suggest that Lobo had known any of the men who had been caught with the amount of cocaine.

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UCCI secures NASA engineer for science conference

| 23/08/2013 | 25 Comments

(CNS): NASA Aerospace Engineer Dr Camille Alleyne wil be coming to Cayman in October as the keynote speaker for the university’s annual science conference, STEM 2013. The Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Conference being held by the University College of the Cayman Islands, in collaboration with the University of the West Indies, later this year has managed a real coup with Alleyne. Currently serving as the Assistant Program Scientist for the International Space Station (ISS), a science laboratory in space, she is responsible for developing and managing the communication strategic plan for ISS Research and Technology.

Awarded a Caribbean Woman Icon in Science and Technology by the National Institute for Higher Education, Research, Science and Technology in Trinidad and Tobago, Dr Alleyne has dedicated her 18-year career to advancing the areas of aerospace and space technology development, specifically in the fields of human space flight, ballistic missile engineering, space vehicle and weapon systems engineering, integration and testing; and most recently developing science and technology-based solutions for international development in addition to global science and space education.

Dr Alleyne has served in several technical management positions both at NASA and US Dept of Defense.

She will head a line-up of high calibre international and local STEM experts, who are presenting on a wide variety of topics for this year’s bigger, bolder and better conference, the college stated in a release.

Conference Chair Dr Bill Hrudey said that following the success of the inaugural STEM last year, the 2013 conference will be one day longer and will feature “a larger, nicer blend of speakers and topics which will showcase local, regional and international perspectives.”

Staying true to its purpose of exposing students, teachers, parents and the general public to science and technology in a way that inspires curiosity and interest in learning, STEM Carib 2013 is more family-friendly than ever.

“We have designated specific conference activities that will children, teens and adults will enjoy”, said Dr Hrudey. “We have planned an astronomy evening and a family fun day filled with demonstrations and displays on magic, robotics, solar observations, a Ruben’s tube and a van der Graff generator, to name a few. The winners of the Rotary Science Fair will also be showcasing their projects,” he added.

For further information, email events@ucci.edu.ky to view profiles of the speakers and the schedule of events.

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