7MB bomb hoaxer’s jail time suspended

| 30/05/2014

(CNS): James Bernie Williams, 53, has been handed a two year suspended sentence and ordered to complete 200 hours of community service by a Grand Court judge in connection with a bomb hoax last year. The hoax happened just a week before Christmas at the Ritz Carlton and the Caribbean Club in the heart of Grand Cayman’s tourist district of Seven Mile Beach. Over 1,000 guests were evacuated as a result of Williams hoax call to 911.  A former employee of both resorts, he appeared before Justice Alexander Henderson Thursday for sentencing, having pleaded guilty in January, and the court heard both booze and revenge motivated the offence.

Crown Prosecutor Kenneth Ferguson told the court that the maximum sentence was seven years for such offenses. He said the need to protect the public and the emergency services outweighed any personal mitigating factors that could be put forth, adding that it was rare for such cases not to result in a custodial sentence. He added that in similar incidents to the one before the court, 12 months to two years had been the norm.

Defense Attorney John Furniss argued that Williams had admitted to police that he was responsible for the incident during the very first interview on 19 December 2014 and entered a guilty plea on the first opportunity to do so on 24 January 2014. Furniss told Justice Henderson his client is an alcoholic who had lost two jobs because of his drinking. He said Williams had been fired from both the Ritz Carlton and the Caribbean Club and had been drinking prior the making the call out of revenge and frustration.

“He is still receiving treatment at Caribbean, where he has been residing since the incident,” noted the attorney, who added that his client knows there was considerable disruption.
Williams' stay at Caribbean Haven is winding down and he is expected to be reintroduced shortly, according to Furniss. He advised the court that the defendant was working five days a week with Captain Marvin’s.

Justice Henderson began his remarks saying, “The world is filled with alcoholics. Most of them don’t make bomb threats.” He added that if the man had been charged with rape, the alcohol would not have been considered a mitigating factor.

“Does he realize I can just send him to prison,” exclaimed Justice Henderson, who reminded Furniss that over one thousand guests had to be evacuated from Caribbean Club as a result of the hoax.

He said he was concerned about the serious nature of the offense but noted that the defendant had no police history and was at a low risk of re-offending. The justice added that he was minded to impose a suspended sentence of two years.

He pointed out that the suspended sentence hinged on a strict regimen of conditions to be adhered to by Williams, otherwise he would be serving two years plus time for any new offence.

The conditions set out include keeping the peace and being of good character, appearing to court when required, reporting to the Probation Office, obeying probation directions, submitting to random breathalyzer tests, and anything over .02 reading of alcohol, which is the margin of error for the machine, would also result in breach of the order. 

Williams was also ordered to never carry a knife, not to be on the grounds of any liquor license premises and to serve 200 hundred hours of community service.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Dismissed from 2 jobs, 2 hotels bomb hoaxes, 2 years suspended sentence & 200 hrs community service.  I ga buy that 2 on Sunday cause that seems to have been his lucky number!!!  

  2. Anonymous says:

    Just wondering, would it be at all possible to put some kind of a block on his ability to make 911calls? Seems this is the problem, I guess.

  3. Anonymous says:

    This is not a punishment for the crime committed. This individual should have been given the full extent of the law which among other things would act as deterrent to other persons comitting this crime. Let the punishment fit crime Sir.

  4. Knot S Smart says:

    Poor guy – he lost his job because he was drinking, and he was drinking because he lost his job, and he made the hoax bomb threat because he was drunk…

    And now he is sentenced to 200 hours of community service because he is not drinking anymore…

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would love to know where those people who are orderedfor community services are actually doing their service, who ensures that it is done, that it is done in a proper and in a meaningful way.

    As many people who were ordered to serious amount of hours spent on community service, our Island shouldn't have a shred of garbage lining the roads for the next years to come!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Should have gotten a couple of months in the slammer. This is no punishment at all.

  7. 7 year old says:

    He should get the same as if it were a real bomb. That would teach him.

  8. Anonymous says:

    What a joke the Cayman Islands Court System is.