Exception made for robber

| 24/07/2014

(CNS): Two local men involved in an armed heist of a courier van in George Town some two years ago were sentenced to seven years jail time Wednesday, while a third man from West Bay became one of the first people involved in gun crime to escaped the mandatory minimum sentence. Manuel Ramirez Carter and Brandon Reno Liberal were sentenced to 6 years for robbery and 7 years for possession of an unlicensed firearm to run concurrently, after changing their pleas to guilty on the day of trial, 25 February this year. However, John Phillip Cohen-Ebanks, who admitted his part in the crime from the outset, was given 3 years after the judge found exceptional circumstances as a result of his cooperation with the authorities. The fourth suspect, Tarick Crawford, was deemed unfit to plead and submissions are still to be heard.

In October 2012 a courier from Sprint was robbed at gunpoint outside of BritCay offices on Eastern Avenue. The crime had been planned, and involved two getaway cars and handheld radios. No one was injured. The gunman Carter made off in a white Mitsubishi being driven by Cohen-Ebanks with CI$8,117 and US$519. All four men were caught on Kirk Home Centre’s CCTV cameras, and incriminating evidence was left in the car.

A victim impact statement read at the sentencing revealed that although no shots were fired, the courier felt that he was deeply affected by the event. He had to leave his job and is too scared to leave home, and it is also understood that he has begun drinking heavily to cope with the event.

At the sentencing hearing in May defense attorney Clyde Allen asked the presiding judge, Justice Charles Quin to consider that Cohen-Ebanks’ cooperation, among other issues, amounted to exceptional circumstances.

Although all firearms possession attracts a minimum sentence of ten years following conviction after trial and a potential discount down to seven years following an immediate guilty plea, judges can hand down a lesser term for exceptional circumstances. Discounts can amount to up to half the appropriate sentence depending on a number of factors such as the risks taken by the defendant and the quality of the information he or she provides.

Justice Quin noted that Cohen-Ebanks had cooperated with both the prosecution and the RCIPS. It was said that without Cohen-Ebanks’ “significant assistance” two of the men prosecuted would have never been charged. The judge said that in cases like these one must punish the defendant for their crime, whilst also rewarding them for their cooperation.

Liberal had handed in an unlicensed firearm late September 2013. Because of this, Furniss requested that Liberal’s sentence be considered with exceptional circumstance. Justice Quin said that it was “a mitigating factor but not an exceptional circumstance” regarding possession of an unlicensed firearm and that Liberal should have handed in the gun earlier for this to be considered. Following the hearing Furniss confirmed that he would appeal the case.

Meanwhile, Cohen-Ebanks has been in custody at the George Town police station since his arrest almost two years ago and will remain there for the foreseeable future. It was agreed that he not be sent to Northward prison.

Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards, QC, prosecuted the case.

Read related stories on CNS:

Lawyer pleads for exception

Madeleine Rowell recently finished her International Baccaluareate Diploma atUWC-USA and is heading to Stanford University.

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wow …


    Yes, ours is still a new, young and just emerging/developing local society.. not saying that as an excuse, but as a reality.

    Unfortunately, like pre-teens left to their own wiles, many of us are adopting negative lifestyles (of our innate nature, or influenced by media/others etc).

    I see this clearly in my own are in West Bay, but indeed also throughout these Islands!

    No blame to others – we all have a conscience!


    There is a need for leadership (all around), of more introspection and self-control, and respect of the traditional conservative values.

    Thankfully, most of  "our" people are still of the more positive mindset.. but the new generation are being allowed excuses (unemployment etc) why they should abandon positive values.

    … yet the employment fiasco is another debate!


    Having said all that.. ya'll need to remember that there is no definition of a 'Native/Indigenous Caymanian".. The authorities refused to enshrine that in the constitution; yet most of our laws had the local person in mind and in the spirit of laws/regulations such as scholarship grants, land duty waivers, employment preferences etc.

    Will it ever be amended?… probably never, as the native percentile is diminishing by the day!

    • Just Commentin' says:




      Having said all that, can you please give us a definition of  "traditional conservative values"?

      • Anonymousand says:

        OK… I (and our documented history) would say that our traditional values were humility, sharing+caring, God-fearing, resourceful, humble+hardworking…
        Of course, many confuse culture with tradition, and the modern culture is fast drifting away from those core values.

      • Anonymous says:

        I am guessing it means belief in the imaginary magical man in the sky, hatred of gay people, and contempt for Jamaicans

    • Anonymous says:

      Nice touch of racism there.

  2. Anonymous says:

    It doesnt matter what nationality you are, people commit crimes every day. This is about the behaviors of individuals, stop using the HALO EFFECT on people based on nationality. No one can tell me they do not know someone who has committed a crime or even killed a roach. Ignorance is the worse thing anyone can have, open your minds, and be thankful for what you have. Help people! You want a better country do something about it. The government can only do so much. Instead of bashing people on CNS, use the time you took to write a comment and do something constructive with it. I wonder how many people say good things about their hometown when there is wrong going on there, ever think of that?? I guess not!!
    If you live here,you made that choice and no owes anyone anything. You want a better Cayman start an organization or join one.

    ps. Take notes from a young Caymanian who has faith, grace, and hope

  3. Anonymous says:

    "We should have known better to not let in the drove of certain nationality, knowing their country was riddled with crime."  Just say the word, we all know you are slurring Jamaicans.

    • Anonymous says:

      Slurring infers the Jamaican role in Cayman criminality is unfounded.

      • Just Commentin' says:

        Geeze! I am glad someone spelled it out. When I read the alleged "slur" referring to a people from a "country riddled with crime" I thought they were talking about dem Merricuns.

    • Anonymous says:

      It's only a slur if it was not true… 

    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t leave Hondurans entirely out of it!

  4. Kato says:

    Thank God for Kirks home CCTV. It appears the million dollar government ones can't catch nothing! Why do we keep spending money om maintenance if  they really  don't add value to security?

    • Anonymous says:

      They would be fantastic if used as financed.  Money is being wasted and nobody held to account…as is the norm rather than exception.

      • Anonymous says:

         07:21. Please explain as I am not sure what you are talking about.

  5. Anonyanmous says:

    I am only aware of one being being Caymanian with no where to go but to stay right here.  My only hope is that he will reform himself while in prison and on his return back to society I wish him well and pray that he stays away from drugs.

    CNS Note: All four men are Caymanian

    • Anonymous says:

      They were all lead astray by furreigners them.

      • Anonymous says:

        You really should learn to spell "foreigners", but otherwise you are correct.

        • Anonymous says:

          I think you will find "furreigners" is a valid term of art in CNSthreadspeak.

        • Coconutz says:

          It was deliberately misspelled…

          • Anonymous says:

            I think the poster knows that…

          • Anonymous says:

            I'm not so sure. He couldn't distinguish between "lead" and "led" either. In an effort to denigrate Caymanians he ended up looking foolish.

            • Anonymous says:

              I doubt the poster was "denigrating Caymanians", he was probably denigrating the narrow minded mentality of a small proportion of residents who blame crime on "furreigners" and stress differences between "native Caymanians" and other Caymanians.  I think this narrow group could probably be best summarised as "People who agree with Ezzard".  Thankfully most Caymanians see Ezzard as a raving nationalist dufus.

              • Anonyanmous says:

                Guess, what that is why Real Caymanians love Ezzard and Real Caymanians are not going anywhere but back to the soil for whence they came and that my friend is why the Caymanians with DNA to Ferra Firma love Ezzard and most if not all "caymanians" like yourself see Ezzard as a raving nationalist dufus.  Again those with DNA to Ferra Firma just love, love, Ezzard a native son of the soil. 

        • Anonymous says:

          And "led".

        • Anonymous says:

          And "led" isn't a problem for you?

        • Just Commentin' says:

          Aww shucks!   I stans correkked. I always refers to 'em as "furriners".  I gonna go so add de propah spellin in mah spellchekc rite nah! Tanks!

          Akshully dey was correck ennyweys, causin roun yah bein correck don't depen on de spellin or evun de grammah, it depens ahpon weddah de tawts ekspress yah bees rite an sensibul. Dis ain't primarie skool, Bobo, dis bees a publik furom. 

    • dr scaramanga says:

      I would not go down this route if I were you. A simple check of either CNS or the court lists from the start of the will not make you look to clever.

    • Anonymous says:

      Here we go again with the Caymanian's don't commit crimes crap. And you seem to be more willing to wish him the best becuase he is Caymanian so he should just get a smack on the hand. You folks need to really except the fact that expats are not the root of all your problems. A great deal are home grown..

      • Anonyanmous says:

        Here we go again, listen I know the Caymanian and he has a drug problem.  Yes, I said that I wishes him the best and I hope that he does better for the sake of his children, grandchildren and family. This man came from a family especially a mother who worked very hard to maintain him as a child and she did the very best that she could.  He was a hard worker but developed a drug problem and as a result began to commit crimes to maintain his drug habit, his children are not out and about committing crimes they work and contribute to their country, not a single one is on the Social Service dole and this is their country.  I have seen this played out in the best of circumstances in Cayman and tosome that came from the best of homes.  I don't know where you came from here but, let me tell you the real Caymanians have a heart of love and forgivness and you and no one else will change that we were just born and programmed that way. Expats are no the root of all of our problems but many are the seed that cause us to develop the roots that bear the fruits good and bad.

    • Anonymous says:

      CNS – thank you for the confirmation. However, if any of them became Caymanian by grant (as appears may be the case) then has anyone checked whether their status ought to be revoked? There is little point in us having laws that clearly provide that option if we never use them.

      • Anonymous says:

        Revocation would probably be illegal under the ECHR.  They have Article 8 rights.

    • Anonyanmous says:

      Apologies, for saying only one is Caymanian, yes they are all Caymanians, but only one is Caymanian born.  I hope you all will forgive me on this grave mistake.

      • Anonymous says:

        So all are Caymanian but three are also foreign nationals and accordingly potentially deportable?

  6. Anonymous says:

    Are they all Caymanian? This is important as a consideration because it allows the following to be considered:

    Has deportation been sought or ordered following sentence for any that are not?
    For those that are Caymanian, has anyone investigated whether there is any scope for revocation of their status, and subsequent deportation?

    Congratulations to the crown on this successful prosecution.

    • Anonymous says:


      I think it is too late in the day to try and figure out who are of Caymanian roots and who we invited in our islands to be paper Caymanians. These distinction should have been done when the constituation was amended.

      We should have known better to not let in the drove of certain nationality, knowing their country was riddled with crime.

      Its a know fact that our young men have become contaminated by association of these criminals.

      When we look back at the 70s and up untill the the early 90s when we had a small amount of these particular nationality our young men were still good guys.

      I would hope that our elect legislate a law to remove these imported criminals from our shores no matter what papers they possess.

      • Anonymous says:

        Such racist people in a so called christian country..Caymanian do no wrong and if they do it's always someone elses fault.

      • Anonymous says:

        Instead of shifting blame maybe you should raise kids that aren't easily lead astray. Teach them structure and discipline. It still works.  

        • Anonymous says:

          You're that poster who can't distinguish between "lead" and "led".

          • Anonymous says:

            It is quite a common grammatical error so I don't see how you can jump to that conclusion. 

      • Anonymous says:

        No, you miss the point. We already have legislation to remove persons who have been granted status if they commit crimes. We do not have to change the law. The Immigration law clearly has the required provisions, including in amendments passed after the constitution. However, for some reason it never seems to be enforced. The real question is why?

      • Anonymous says:

        "Its a know fact that our young men have become contaminated by association of these criminals." Wow. I didn't realize that the morals of Caymanian men are so fragile that merely knowing criminals could affect their immune systems and their brains. 'Could be the result of inbreeding or something….

      • Coconutz says:

        I'm not 100% sure as to which group you speak of, but I'm pretty sure that you must be referring to the many Canadian accountants on island.  Please let me know if I am right.

      • Read says:

        Are you serious? People resort to crime in desperate circumstances and has little to do with what nationatlities they associate with. Also in the 70s through to the 90s Cayman had loads of drug trafficking that was ( and still is) mainly  conducted by Caymanians that reside in some of the most poverous neighborhoods in the Cayman Islands. Oh and before you go blaming a "certain nationality" or foreigners for brininging crime into our country remember who actually founded these Islands. 

        • dr scaramanga says:

          Christopher Columbus' s fault?

        • Anonyanmous says:

          Let me see who founded these islands, first it was the turtles, the Iguanas, then Christopher Columbus discovered them and made mention of them in his journals to the king and queen of Spain, Christopher Columbus was an Italian explorer funded by Spain so I believe an Italian discovered Cayman.  From these fact can I infer that crime was brought into these islands by the Italians as Christopher Columbus was a native of Genoa? 

          You know nothing of Cayman in the 80s or 90s because if you did you would have know that the major drug players and barons of that era were people who were given status and had their elobrate drug connections in the USA, Europe and Central America.

    • Anonymous says:

      Deportation of status holders would in almost all cases be contrary to Art 8 of the ECHR.

      • Anonymous says:

        LOL. Just revoke the status first and then they won't be status holders. BTW the UK Secy of state has the power to revoke British Citizenship if he deems it in the national interests.

        • Anonymous says:

          And that right in the UK is subject to Art 8, in the same way the right would be subject to it in Cayman.

          • Savannah Resident says:

            Not exactly, The UK Supreme court has ruled that not all aspects of the ECHR apply to the UK. Don't believe me, see the link below 



            • Anonymous says:

              And in addition status is not citizenship. It is closest to the UK concept of Permanent Residence with the Right to Work. What we call PR is more akin to what the UK calls a work permit.

              • Anonymous says:

                Not going to wash with the ECtHR or the PC.  A stauts holder is certainly a settled resident.

                • Anonymous says:

                  Nonsense. It is possible to get status without even living in Cayman.

                • Anonyanmous says:

                  It matters not if you are a settled or unsettled the fact of the matter is if you are not born Caymanian as defined by law or a Caymanian born outside of the Cayman Islands (of both Caymanian Parents) you are subject to be removed from the country if you commit any crime that fall under the laws inwhich your right to remain can be revoked.  There is one such case that all Caymanians know about a maybe 10th generational Caymanian that was born outside of the Cayman Island with a foreign father and Caymanian mother, the person grew up and lived in Cayman all their life and had to leave so no, don't sell me this garbage poster 10:38 because if what you write is the case the government will have to apologize to that person and I can only imagine a big compensation should be in order. There is a big difference between settled and native do you understand the difference? if not let me explain one can move and one has roots!

                  • Anonymous says:

                    Total fallacy. Country of birth is totally irrelevant to whether or not someone is Caymanian by birth under the immigration law. All that matters is the domicile and status of the parents at the time of birth.

            • Anonymous says:

              That really is not what the article was saying at all.

    • Anonymous says:

      They are Caymanian, whether born or by status. So they cannot be deported.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ummmm…if by status then the status can be revoked and then they are deported.

      • Anonyanmous says:

        "They are Caymanians born or by status, so they cannot be deported".  Da wha ya tink, tell the ones that na born here to go do a crime in the USA and see where they send them when their time in prison is up, let me tell you place of birth where ever that might be plain and simple.  For all who want to deny it just try it.  This is the only time that we know a true Caymanian from a caymanian.

        • Anonymous says:

          15:44, let me tell you that being born in Cayman, does not make you Caymanian by an means whatsoever.

          It took me 26yrs to be recognized as citizen of the counry I was born and raised in.

          The only place in the world that does this is the Cayman Islands.

          I had the risk of deportation hanging over my head for a very long time and felt like an illegal alien for most of life in the very country that is my home.

          So get caught abroad committing a crime and they deport you to Cayman where you were born, but then Cayman deports you where because they do not recognize you as a Caymanian?

          That is fundamentallly f**ked up and a huge breach of human rights.


          • Anonyanmous says:

            Poster 17:47 Sorry to know that you had to endure so much grief in the country of your birth.  I am very happy to know that your issue is now resolved.  Asmuch as I don't like what happend to you I will tell you that this had nothing to do with the laws of the Cayman Islands this was a directive from the UK.  The Cayman Islands is not responsible for their nationality directives it comes directly from the UK and NO Cayman is not the only place that being born there does not confer automatic nationality by virture of birth in the country, there are many.

            In an attempt to put to bed the misundertanding that the Cayman Islands are so cruel and does not confer citizenship to people born here for what ever reason read the link below and search up the on the nationality act of the UK.


      • Anonymous says:

        Get it right people, you are not a true Caymanian unless you can trace your roots back to original inhabitants of this little island. If you can't you are an immigrant..