Archive for February 19th, 2014

Judge rejects basis of plea

| 19/02/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): A Grand Court judge rejected the basis on which a plea was agreed between crown and defence counsel in a robbery case before him Wednesday, pointing out that there cannot be two sets of different facts in the same case. Ordain Lloyd Ebanks, who had been charged with armed robbery at Chisholms supermarket last September had the charges against him reduced to handling stolen goods after the crown said it no longer had evidence that Ebanks was part of the robbery. Although he had entered the shop a short time before and purchased a patty and was later arrested in the getaway car, he denied knowing anything about the crime until he was handed a stolen cigarette packet.

The crown had originally claimed that 18-year-old Ebanks, along with another man, had gone into Chisholms to check things out or, as it was later described, to “case the joint” before the crime was committed, then they had been part of the getaway and therefore had been involved in planning the heist.

It was on that basis that Justice Charles Quin accepted Courtney Bryan's plea last month, the first of the four men arrested and charged in the case, to be sentenced. During the sentencing hearing the court heard admissions that Bryan was one of the two robbers that had held up the store's 83-year-old owner and her granddaughter in broad daylight on 23 September last year.

Based on the submissions made by the crown outlining the facts of the case, the judge had found that the two men who entered the store before the robbery were part of the crime and their “casing of the joint” was an aggravating factor as it had indicated a degree of planning and that the robbers had established that the shop was occupied by just two women.

As a result, Justice Quin had raised his concerns about the crown’s decision to accept a plea from Ebanks that he had no knowledge of the crime until he found himself in a getaway car with the alleged robbers and was then handling stolen cigarettes.

At last week’s sentencing hearing when the submissions were made regarding the now reduced part the crown said Ebanks played, the judge made it clear he was uncomfortable with the deal the crown had made over the plea. When he returned to the case Wednesday 19 February, he said he was rejecting the basis of the plea as there could not be two sets of facts. Justice Quin said evidence needed to be aired to get at the truth of what happened and who played what part in the robbery before pleas could be accepted and an appropriate sentence passed.

With his judgment against Bryan contradicting what the crown now claims are the circumstances of this case, the judge adjourned it for one month to allow lawyers time to prepare arguments, andremanded Ebanks in custody.

Based on legal authorities, the judge explained that he was not obligated to accept a basis of plea merely because the crown and defence had agreed. Justice Quin said any agreement between counsel was subject to the court’s agreement. As a result the lawyers involved will now put forward their legal arguments on the position taken by the judge on 24 March.

It is not clear why the crown had altered their position in the case. Odain Ebanks, Ian Ellington Courtney Bryan and a teenager who cannot be named because of his age were all arrested and charged with the North Side robbery after a high speed chase through the eastern district by an RCIPS patrol vehicle with support from police helicopter.

Bryan and the teen admitted that they were the two men who had entered the store and committed the robbery. Bryan was the first to be sentenced and he received four years as he was considered to be the ring leader. The 16-year-old has also admitted going into the store and committing the robbery with Bryan but has persistently denied having a weapon. As a result he has pleaded guilty to robbery and not guilty to possession of an imitation firearm and is now expected to face trial later this year on that count.

Meanwhile, Ellington, who has pleaded guilty to being an accessory after the fact, having admitted that he picked up the robbers, has denied being the man in the shop with Ebanks when he purchased a patty or knowing anything about the hold-up until after the event. His sentencing hearing was also adjourned and he was also remanded in custody until next month.

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Moses not satisfied with CAL service to Sister Islands

| 19/02/2014 | 0 Comments

Cayman Islands, Cayman Brac(CNS Business): Deputy Premier Moses Kirkconnell has said he is not satisfied with the service that Cayman Airways now provides to the Sister Islands and has challenged the national airline to improve it. Examining opportunities to diversify the economy of Cayman Brac, Kirkconnell, one of two MLAs for the district, said the first strategy was to look at ways to capitalize on the extremely strong financial services industry in Grand Cayman and how the Brac could complement it, such as with back office jobs. Talking to CNS Business Video, Kirkconnell said the second strategy was to look at how to “work with the stakeholders and partners that are here now in tourism to grow the tourism product and find our niche.” Read more and watch the video on CNS Business

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LA to debate OMOV and minimum wage

| 19/02/2014 | 25 Comments

Cayman Islands(CNS): Legislators will be back in the Legislative Assembly next Wednesday when they will be making changes to offshore-related legislation and debating the private members' motions filed by the independent members on 'one man, one vote' and a minimum wage. The debates on both controversial topics, which are said to be causing divisions among the government benches as well as across the floor, were postponed during the last LA sitting to facilitate the debate on the Standards in Public Life bill. Although the government has set out a schedule for meetings, Ezzard Miller raised concerns that the new government is being just as abusive regarding the parliamentary process as their predecessors, the UDP, and disregarding the rules and regulations.

Miller said that he and Arden McLean had agreed to a postponement of their motions until today, 19 February but he said despite that the premier the proceeded to adjourn the LA without a future date and he said he was informed just this week that instead of returning on 19 February they would be sitting on the 26 February.

“Nothing much has changed the government is running the business of the House in accordance with its liking rather than the rules, but of course there is nothing we can do about that,” he said. Miller said he had been pleased to see the premier’s efforts to plan a proper schedule but he said it was even more disappointing that the government still went ahead and did what it wanted without regard for other members.

Nevertheless, Miller said he was looking forward to the forthcoming debates on the two motions before the House dealing with the both the implementation of a minimum wage and the need to revise the local voting system as quickly as possible. Miller said he and Arden McLean who had filed and seconded each other’s motions were anticipating that the government would be welcoming the motions as the PPM had campaigned on both of these issues in the run up to the election.

However, sources have suggested that the government benches may not be unified on the way forward on either issue and as a result while they may accept the motions in principle they may not act on them. However, Miller has said that he was willing to draft the necessary legislation if need be and present a private members bill to the House on the issues if government does not accept and act quickly on the motions.

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CEO panel could include minister and sports experts

| 19/02/2014 | 2 Comments

(CNS): Organisers of the Fidelity CEO conference scheduled to take place Thursday are hopeful that the minister responsible for youth and sports, Osbourne Bodden,will be joining, Jeffery Webb, Johann Moxam, Collin Anglin and Richard (Grizz) Adams to debate the issue Youth, Education and Crime and the question of why is sport failing. Giving the minister a break from the rubbish problems, Bodden will be facing questions along with the panellists on whether sport can help address the problems facing many young people in Cayman. Meant to be a provocative discussion with the minister, the director of sports, a rugby expert, the Chamber president and the president of CONCACAF on the panel, organisers are hoping to generate some sparks.

The debate is set to take place at the end of the conference, which will be opened by Governor Helen Kilpatrick and the sponsor’s boss Anwer Sunderji. All eyes will be on the premier, however, at 9:30, when he will be delivering his first State of the Nation address to the conference.

His predecessor, McKeeva Bush, had used the conference to make major announcements and in past years had stirred up considerable controversy. Last year, however, the presentation was a more low-key affair. It was given by Juliana O’Connor-Connolly, who had taken up the post of premier in the minority Cabinet after Bush was ousted from office in the wake of his arrest.

So far there have been no leaks regarding Alden McLaughlin’s planned address and no one knows whether he will use the opportunity to make any announcements or revelations about the year ahead.

The conference opens at 9am Thursday, 20 February, at the Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman.

For more information go to the CEO website.

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