Customs man acquitted

| 23/08/2013

(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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  1. Anonymous says:

    He was found Not Guilty not just acquitted for lack of evidence

    • Anonymous says:

      "Not guilty" just means that the prosection did not prove to the jury their case that the accused committed the crime beyond reasonable doubt.  It does not mean anymore than that.  You post is nonsense.

  2. Anonymous says:

    XXXXX should be ashamed of themselves. They were looking for someone to blame and arrested an innocent man with no strong evidence.  Please look at the facts before you assume that the charge that they put on him was valid. Be aware Custom officers, if you should be in the wrong place at the wrong time this could happen to you.  I feel so sorry for this young man. I have always seen him as a respectable hard working Gentleman. I say a pray for his children and his family that would have had their world turned upside down for 2 years. Not to even mention legal fees which I am sure were terribly hard to pay. Lobo, keep your head high.

  3. Lizan Ebanks says:

    I'm  proud of you David, your faith stood firm at all times, if God for us who can be against us"

  4. Anonymous says:

    I see the police taking the brunt of the public bashing again..perhaps if you had been in court you would have seen that not one single cop was involved in this trial. this was investigated fully by customs investigators..

  5. Anonymous says:

    One thing we must always remember is that an acquittal only means one thing, that the prosecution failed to establish to the jury beyond reasonable doubt that the offence was committed by the accused.  Nothing more, nothing less.

    • Anonymous says:

      You're a troll, nothing more, nothing less.  Apparently you have troubles understanding that there really was no evidence to convict this man on.  So go back to your little desk at the DPP and try to earn your pay.

    • Anonymous says:

      So in your expert opinion all who are acquitted are more or less guilty, just not found to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt – is that what you are saying?

      • Anonymous says:

        This is posted by a person in the 1st or 2nd percentile in verbal reasoning on their SATs.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Apparently another wild goose chase with little evidence and hope to convict.  Unless I have missed something big, this case probably ought to never have made it in front of the courts.  Thank you once again to the Department of Public Prosecutions for once again not doing your job, trying to ruin a young man's career and future, and wasting public money. 

    • SSM345 says:

      Who was in charge of this case for the DPP, Trevor Ward?

      • Anonymous says:

        I have no idea, but if anyone does, I'm sure the public would love to know.  CNS, any chance that from here on forward you could publish the names of the prosecutor?

      • Anonymous says:

        That's "QC" to you!

    • A-nony-mouse says:

      It seems more and more to be the Dept of Public PERSECUTIONS, as after three years the case basically fell apart for lack of evidence.  How many more members of the public will have their lives disrupted for that long only to be set free after all that time?

  7. Catcha Fire says:

    When those who accuse and condemn others are themselves complicit and mired down in corruption with those who's empires are built on the "Drug bizzness" thereof. Honestly what do we expect Good people to do??? Juries no longer have blind faith in law enforcement which is both bias and has very little or no credibilty in our little society these days.

    • Anonymous says:

      Time for cleansing of the RCIP, the checker board is worn and torn.  What can you expect from the make-up of law enforcement ?  Stop hiring labourers and dressing them up in uniforms to go out and carry out the laws of the land.  It doesn't work, it never will work, therefore find the right balance.

  8. Isaac says:

    Justice has been served. Well done Lobo for standing strong!!!

    • AnonymousXXXOO says:

      The problem here is,  once those cops have arrested him and charged him, his reputation is tarnishd forever in Cayman. These cops will go to any lengths to prove that they have a case, against you when all it it amounts to is seeing how many browie points they can get. A leapord never changes his spots. Greed and lies will do them in sooner than later I pray. Glad for you young man

      • Anonymous says:

        Approximately 3 years and god only knows at what cost for Mr. Lobo's legal defense over this period of time. I guess the Police figure if they can't get the conviction, they will make you bankrupt in the process. I also believe that he will now have one very difficult time getting a good job anywhere in Cayman. Anytime a potential employer does an internet search of his name, what do you think will be the first item to pop up!.  I doubt very much he would be welcome back in the Customs (lol) department nor would he likely want to be re-employed there. My question has to be "is anyone held accountable for these malicious prosecutions?"

      • Anonymous says:

        I say this over and over and OVER again, it is either the RCIP is arresting the right people but between them and the DPP the evidence (or the lack thereof) is being miss-managed. OR the RCIP is arresting the wrong people!! In each case, the guilty is still free!!!! Look at all the murder trials that were brought before a judge and thrown out, is the RCIP still following up on these cases looking for new leads?!!! God help us!

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the evidence ain't water tight, it ain't gonna get through…a lesson for all in either that the policing and evidencecollection needs to be better or in when they should let go of a case.

  10. Just a Simple Caymanian says:

    Justice is slow but in the end if you are a good person it works out for you. But sometimes it dose no,t and it can distroy ones life for a long time if not forever. We just have to be careful of the company we keep or associate with, Cayman is small and "we Caymanians" are ore own worst enemy .

    Honestly I Pray every night for Caymanians our little Island, we need something to bring us back togather again …… hopfully not another IVAN. To end let us give our fellow man a helping hand when he or shoe is down ….. don't push them down any further it is not a good feeling at all. So today tell someone something encouraging and uplifting you will both feel great.


    To all Have a great and safe weekend

    • Michel says:

      Yes we must pray for one another and also Love one Another. David I knew you too well for me to even think you were involved. A lot of time wasted for you not mentionning the many griefs. Hold your head up and move forward. God Bless, Michel Lemay