Lead robbers get 14yrs jail

| 29/10/2013

(CNS): With two trial judges and a variety of convictions between them, the five men charged in the Cayman National Bank and WestStar armed robberies last year were sentenced Tuesday for their part in the crimes. David Tomasa, considered the mastermind in both robberies, and Andre Burton were handed 14 year sentences. Ryan Edwards, who was found guilty of aiding and abetting in the WestStar crime, was still given a 13 year sentence as he was one of the gunmen in the bank robbery. Although George Mignot was acquitted in the TV office hold-up, he received 12 years for the CNB robbery. Rennie Cole, who was accused of being a decoy at the bank, was given nine years for his part in the criminal gang.

Tomasa (33), Burton (28) and Edwards (37) were first sentenced for their part in the WestStar trial by visiting judge, Justice Alastair Malcolm. It was then down to local judge, Justice Alex Henderson, to deal with both the Cayman National Bank robbery and the complex issue of the totality of the sentences following Justice Malcolm’s decision. Although three of the men were convicted of committing two distinct robberies around one month apart, the court had to give consideration to the overall time the men would serve in prison.

The visiting judge gave both Tomasa and Burton eleven years for their robbery conviction in the TV hold-up and five years to Edwards for his supporting role in the case. Malcolm noted that Tomasa, a married man with three children who was the ring leader, had no previous convictions and had been of good character. His wife, who had spoken as a witness for him, said he had lived a good and decent life until he turned his hand to robbery, makingit “even more distressing that a he had committed such a crime”. But the judge noted that in the present climate the courts must do everything it could to protect both people and businesses from such attacks.

Following the sentencing ruling by Justice Malcolm on Tuesday morning, Justice Alex Henderson then gave his decision the same afternoon. Based on guidelines and legal authorities, as well as the requirement in the law to consider the entirety of the time the three men would serve, he bumped both Tomasa and Burton’s sentences up to 14 years and that of Edwards to 13 years. Edwards was also handed an additional concurrent sentence of five years for removing cash stolen in the bank heist to Jamaica.

Justice Henderson said that the bank robbery was the biggest ever in Cayman. More than $500,000 was stolen, representing around one sixth of the local bank’s profits per annum, most of which has never been recovered. However, around $40,000 was found on Edwards when he was arrested in Jamaica and some $100,000 was dropped by the robbers as they fled from the heist after their getaway vehicle was blocked by the bank’s armoured truck.

Although he acknowledged that the robbers in the bank heist did make some errors in their otherwise well-planned robbery, Justice Henderson described it as a substantially, sophisticated crime which was executed quickly and efficiently. He said the five men had worked as a team of professional bank robbers.

Before passing sentence, the judge also recommended the deportation of both Rennie Cole and Ryan Edwards, who are both Jamaican nationals, once they had served their sentences. The other three men involved in the crimes are all Caymanian.

As the police were never able to recover the weapons used in the crimes, the crown was only able to charge the robbers with possession of imitation firearms with intent. However, both judges pointed out that the victims of the robberies did not know whether the weapons were real or not or if they were loaded when they were pointed in their direction and the men threatened them and demanded the cash.

In each case where the men were charged with possessing fake guns they were handed down concurrent sentences of seven years.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I wish you people would stop posting things that you dont know, especially those saying that all three of these men have status. I can provide proof that one was born here, his mother born here. You want the proof?

  2. Anonymous says:

    So they committed two major heists but they serve only the amount of time as if there was only one robbery??  That is ridiculous.  The crown should appeal the concurrent sentences. These should most definitely be made to run consecutively.  It was for two completely separate and non-related offences.  Happy that there were convictions and the sentencing could have been considered fair, had they not been made to run concurrently.  I think it is a mistake.


  3. Anonymous says:

    Now they don't have to rob to have a roof over head, 3 meals a day, TV and a bunch of smoke. Doesn't sound like much of a sentence.

  4. Knot S Smart says:

    Can we introduce a public whipping at the start of their sentences, one when they are mid-way through their sentences, and the final on the day they will be released?

    That would be a perfect punishment for robberies and gun related crimes – and I bet we would see a sudden decline in this type of behavior…

    • Anonymous says:

      Public whippings used to be held in front the old Courts Building, now the National Museum. Being on the waterfront, it could make a great tourist attraction.  

  5. Anonymous says:

    every single one of ese bank robbers were born in jamaica. your telling me they are caymanians so they wont be deported?

    • Anonymous says:

      If they were granted status it can and should be revoked. Why is everyone ignoring our laws and if they are all Jamaican, why are we not allowed to say so?

      • Anonymous says:

        Your passport is technically a British one if you are Caymanian. Maybe that should be revoked on the grounds of extreme racism too? It is actually an offence under UK law.

      • Anonymous says:

        nope,   if EXCO gave them status then it is irrevocable    dang it !!!!!!!!!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Go check your facts before you write nonsense, and I provide proof that you dont know what you saying

    • Anonymous says:

      The Law says their status should be revoked and they should be deported, but hey, this is Cayman, we don’t worry about the law.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Good Job!! Caught, tried and sentenced! Perhaps this will show the hooligans that go around wanting to be big and bad “gangsters” (thinking that they are invisible) that eventually you get caught! Look how much time will be wasted in prison for these young men. How many Christmases, Birthdays and memories will be lost in a small cell in Northward. Think about the consequences of your actions before you do them!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    A message to all Caymanians who are called to serve as jurors to pass judgement on people accused of violent offences; you are our only hope of ridding our islands of violent criminals.  Too often these criminals are tracked down, arrested and brought before the courts, only to be set free by a jury who look for reasons to acquit out of fear or pity.  These criminals need to know that we will convict them.  That is the only deterent that we have. 

  8. Anonymous says:

    Has a Judge ever handed down an consecutive sentence to criminals??  The more money you steal the lighter the sentence.  Any Exclusion Orders???

    Cayman is the breeding ground for criminals, home grown and imported.  What's next!

  9. Anonymous says:

    These men were all looking for a quick buck, terrorised bank staff and customers in the process and all they get is 14 years? I suspect that they figure they will spend 14 years in prison and then come out and spend the money anyway so since most of the funds were never recovered they should also have been ordered to repay the bank. The judges needed to make an example out of them.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Justice Henderson.

  11. Anonymous says:

    This is pure, unadulterated investigation at its finest.

    Credit where credit is due and kudos to those involved.

    Now cue the negative anti police, disgruntled ex cop lobby commentators as per normal.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wished they had made the sentences consecutive, no good suckers, because with 14 years they will probably only serve 10, but still, I am glad the judges gave them a hard lick.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Yes, the other three men may be Caymanian, but has anyone considered whether their status could or should be the subject of revocation as prescribed by law?

    • Anonymous says:

      How do we revoke the status of a born Caymanian, and dont try telling me that atleast one of them isn’t a born and bred Caymanian.

    • Anonymous says:

      All of them are Jamaican nationals, but three have status. Under the Immigration Law status can be revoked if you are convicted ofa serious crime. The judge could not order their deportation since their status has not (yet) been revoked.   

      • Anonymous says:

        Fine – but is anyone checking to see that the revocation process is being commenced?

        • Anonymous says:

          No, of course not. What makes you think we follow our laws, espescially the ones needed to protect Cayman?