Judge lenient on troubled teen mugger

| 05/09/2013

(CNS): A seventeen-year-old boy who was arrested and charged for four different crimes in the space of four months but admitted them all immediately on arrest was given a total of 14 months behind bars by a Grand Court judge Tuesday. Although the teen had committed a robbery, attempted a street mugging, stolen a bicycle and handled stolen goods in the separate incidents, all of which were just months apart, Justice Charles Quin went easy on the young offender because he had cooperated fully with police when arrested, admitted his criminality and because it was clear the teen had been completely neglected by his parents, one of whom isalready a serving prisoner at HMP Northward.

Justice Quin gave the young man four different sentences, and while he ordered the two longer ones to run consecutively, he ran the two shorter sentences concurrently, as he said he had given consideration to the totality of time the teenage offender should spend behind bars.

Although the boy had committed a catalogue of offences in a short period prior to his first offence in January, the young man had no criminal record. It is not clear what started the period of offending but at the beginning of this year he was arrested when police found him in possession of a stolen Blackberry. The teenager confessed immediately to buying it from someone even though he knew it was stolen and cooperated with the police in their investigation into the original robbery on Sheddon Road in George Town.

After his arrest and charge, the teenager was bailed but then committed a much more serious crime. On the 23 March the young offender stole a woman’s handbag in what was a violent and frightening crime. The victim was sitting in her Jeep Wrangler, which has open sides, and was beginning to drive out of a car park off Dr Roy’s Drive in George Town when the teen grabbed her bag with such force he pulled her out of the moving car, which crashed into a wall as she threw the bag at mugger. His sunglasses were left at the scene, and although he ran away, he was soon arrested as he was wearing an electronic tag.

This was an unprovoked attack which also turned into a crash, and although the complainant was not injured, that was only by good fortune, but her car was damaged.

Having been released on bail again, the defendant then stole a bicycle that had been left unattended and unlocked outside the Brasserie Restaurant off Elgin Avenue. The judge described it as an opportunistic offence in broad daylight, but when the boy was later arrested he admitted to it. The bike was also recovered as the young offender left it at the scene of his final crime hours later and before he was taken back into custody. 

This time the 17-year-old was charged with attempted theft after he tried to mug another woman as she headed to work at the Chrissie Tomlinson Hospital. Riding the bike he had just stolen in Caycourts, the teenager attempted to steal her handbag but the women held on to her bag and in the struggle both she and the defendant fell to the ground. Fortunately, a man driving by saw what was happening and he stopped and apprehended the defendant. The court commended the passer-by for his alertness and courage, and as a result of his intervention the teen was apprehended for the crime, when he once again gave a full confession.

The judge handed the young man a three month sentence for the charge of handling stolen goods and another one for the theft of the bicycle. However, he handed down eight months for the robbery and another six months for the attempted theft and ordered that both those sentences should run consecutively while the three month sentences could be served concurrently, with time served since April taken into account.

As he delivered his judgment, Justice Quin revealed some serious challenges faced by the young man, including the “complete absence of parental involvement in his upbringing”, which had a direct detrimental impact on the teen. He had been “tossed around from institution to institution" and had no love from either of his parents. His father is already serving a long sentence following a cocaine conviction, which had also deeply disturbed the young offender, and the judge urged the teenager not to follow his example.  His mother was said to have played no part in his upbringing.

However, a social enquiry report described the young man as intelligent and very good at auto-mechanics and auto-body repairs, a skill the judge said was highly sought after and could take him away from a life of crime. “The lack of community resources and the blatant neglect by his parents have robbed the defendant of the necessary guidance and encouragement for him to succeed,” the judge observed.

Clearly needing help and with no love or support from his parents, Justice Quin said it was a very sad case. However, he pointed to the aggravating circumstances of some of his crimes

“I hope that whilst this young defendant is in custody he will think of the fear he caused and the physical and emotional harm endured by those he attacked,” Justice Quin stated, adding that the court recognized that things had not been easy for him.

However, as he was still young and “had the good sense to admit the offences”, he could bring the criminal activity to an end and change the course of his life by focusing on his skills.

“At the end of your period of incarceration you must put your skills to use and concentrate on obtaining a job … and never resort to criminal activity again,” the judge said. “You are the only one who can ensure that you lead a crime free and productive life and have the necessary ability and skills to do so,” Quin said, as he urged the teenager to be the best he could be and turn his life around.

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  1. Anny omis says:

    “You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a licence to buy a dog, to drive a car – hell, you even need licence to catch a fish. But they’ll let any butt-reaming a$$hole be a father.” Parenthood

    Sad, but true.

  2. Diogenes says:

    Hang on. He committed the second offence on bail and wearing a tag, and the third and fourth offences whilst on further bail for the second offence – a violent one at that?  How did he not get remanded after beingarrested whilst on bail? You can just keepoffending on bail and as long as the first offence hasnt come to trial you are good to go?  SMH

  3. Ohforfawksake says:

    I think all males should be sterilized as soon as physically possible after birth. Then when they reach the age of twenty one and have shown that they can be a positive contributor to society have the procedure reversed. In every country!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      17.26, you sound like a little like you may have anti-social tendencies and be a little bitter. Revenge gets you nowhere except another vicious circle

  4. beachbay meatballs says:

    Why is it that so many people in society,demand harsh pinishement,but rejects any aied of rehabilitation for young offenders ?.


  5. Anonymous says:

    Sorry but he should have got more time. He was on a rampage and deserves a more severe reality check.

    Not this slap on the wrist the judge gave him. I can almost guarantee he will continue to live the life he was pursuing once released from northward.

    • Anonymous says:

      I could have accepted such a sentence if there were other things imposed upon him once he leaves prison to make sure he gets on the right track (and stays there).

      Stuff like:

      • Must hold a full time job
      • Frequent urin checks for drug abuse
      • Curfew
      • Must volunteer for a charity

      The options are endless, but this constant catch and release thing we are doing here isn't working out (in case nobody has noticed!).

      • Anonymous says:

        Getting a job after he has been locked up will be the hardest thing of all for him. Very difficult to get the balance right between punishment and correction. I think just the fact that one of his parents is already in prison says a HUGE amount about the start in life this young man has had. 

    • Anonymous says:

      A lot to be aid for Three strikes and your out in my book..

    • Anonymous says:

      I have no problem at all in being lenient with teenagers, especially one who admits his gu,lit so readily.  A pity he has to go to jail at all .  We need to try to recuenthesenyoung men from a life of crime rather than sending them to jail to be steeped in crime by the hardened criminals..  It makes my heart bleed as a mother.

  6. Anonymous says:

    What is clear is that he is part of the intitled tribe.  As for the judge "You are the only one who can bring respect for the Caymanian judicial system from the people.  You don't have it.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Why be lenient on criminals when society is so harsh towards good people? A young criminal like him deserves no mercy.

  8. Anonymous says:

    this little boy was sent to the then called "eagle house" when he was 14 because he kept running away from the boys home he said. if this is all the cayman islands government has for their offending troubled neglected youth. then hold on to your hats its going to get a lot worse. shame on many governments

  9. Anonymous says:

    This is the problem in a nutshell. so what you gonna do?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Judge Quinn is a good Judge and a man with a heart.  He is tough with those who deserve it and has compassion on those who might stand a chance.  Still wish we had Ms. Ramsay-Hale in the Grand Court with him.

  11. Anonymous says:

    He wont make it long term. He is too steeped in crime already thanks to his Caymankind parents. And he will manage to find some stupid women desperate to have a baby for him and the criminal cycle will go on.

  12. Anonymous says:

    And he is, a Caymanian? I only ask because of the moronic deniers on this site who keep posting "send them home".

    • Anonymous says:

      You ask because you want to make a racist suggestion that the criminals are only Caymanians.

      • Anonymous says:

        No!! i think he is just stating a fact. As a Caymanian, I have read on CNS in the past from other Caymanians "Oh this person is from here or there, send them home", when as a matter ofr fact 90+% of our prisoners are our fellow Caymanians. This is the real issue and needs to be addressed ASAP.

      • Anonymous says:

        Hmm, 12:24, you protest too much methinks. The poster was simply commenting on the fact that far too often on CNS, posters like to give the impression that if it weren't for foreigners, there would be little or no crime in Cayman, hence the comment about "send them home". Sorry, Bobo, he is right. Of course there are foreign criminals here -black/ white expat etc but if you look at the Northward statistics, they are mostly BORN Caymanians.

        BTW, how many rapes, home invasions, burglaries, muggings, violent assaults, murders -the ones we crap our pants about – have been committed by British, Canadian or American expats in these blessed islands in the last, say, five years? Just askin'. No doubt Whodatis (who loves to hammer the UK expats) will have some totally irrelevant link from the Daily Mail online to shed meaningless light on this.

        • Anonymous says:

          Estella Roberts rape and murder. 2 Expats
          Rape in hotel bathroom. Expat.
          800 k theft from law firm. Expat.
          Alleged theft from Pines. Expat.
          Theft from Lonestar. Expat.
          Theft from UCCI. Expat.
          Stabbing of girl by Public Beach. Expat.

          Open your eyes!

    • Anonymous says:

      If you knew anything about the relevant Law you would know that there are many hundreds in Cayman who recently became Caymanian by entitlement due to grants to their parents after they were born. These persons ususally automatically lose that status on their 18th Birthday. They can only get it back/get a continuation if they are of good character. Also, anyone granted status can lose it if they are sentenced for more than 12 months. So, do you know how he became Caymanian, if he is – because tha possibility is that even if he, it may be appropriate to revoke it and deport his punk ass?  It is perfectly appropriate to question immigration status. If the authorities did more of it we may have substantially fewer problems.


      If he is a born Caymanian then the position is different, and we have to deal with it.

  13. TruDatis says:

    Wrong approach. Anyone who uses violence should get a mandatory 10 years. If we can lock the violent offenders up until they lose their youthful vigour that will solve a lot of our problems.

    However, we need to stop using custodial sentences for petty drug possession. Prison is the wrong approach for that.

  14. Senior says:

    Teenage boy given 14 months, yet a Rapist walks free.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Father like son. nothing is going to change. I cant beleive such a short stint in jail, hes going to be out in  less than a year and doing it all over agian. we need to start giving harsher sentences to these young people. yes i know some of you are going to say he will learn more in jail but guess what his parents have already shwn him what to do.