Informer pays high price

| 07/11/2014

(CNS): When Marlon Dillon was given a three year sentence Thursday for his part in the largest armed bank robbery in Cayman and a second robbery at WestStar, as a result of what was described as sustained assistance in other crimes, the court heard that Dillon had paid a high price. Described as an exceptional case, for thelast two and a half years the man has been kept in the most inhumane conditions and in solitary confinement. Unable to have visitors as his family were whisked away into witness protection, Dillon is emaciated, sick and traumatised by his experiences, yet he never asked for anything in return and committed to helping the authorities.

During the sentencing hearing that took place last month Dillon wept openly in the court, as the conditions he was being held in were revealed via video footage and still images, as his lawyer detailed his two year incarceration in a cell with no natural light. Dillon was detained in such appalling conditions as the authorities needed to protect him in order to have him testify in three different trails.

Along with the conviction of what were described as a dangerous gang of robbers involved in the CNB bank heist, in which half a million dollars was stolen, as well as the WestStar robbery, in which around $9000 was taken, Dillon assisted in the conviction of Brian Borden, a man believed to be a very dangerous criminal by police, for the killing of Mackford Bush in a gang related shooting. In both those cases he appeared in open court and testified in front of the men he was informing on.

Dillon has also assisted the police in advancing other armed robbery cases and crimes as he revealed everything he knew to the authorities. Despite all this, other than the agreement to protect him and his family from those who would now want to kill him, he has not asked for a deal regarding his sentence in exchange for his evidence.

However, despite enduring the most despicable conditions and at times being held in a cage, as Dillon leaves his solitary confinement his witness protection is in jeopardy. With a recorded conviction Dillon may not be able to join his family overseas as he will not be able to get the necessary travel papers.

During his sentencing ruling Justice Charles Quin had highlighted the invaluable assistance that Dillon had offered and gave the substantial discount on what would likely have been at least an eight year sentence and pointed out that it was to demonstrate to criminals that it is worth their while to help law enforcement when they are caught.

He noted how much Dillon had suffered, as the conditions he had been held were far worse than those prisoners would expect even in Northward. The police commissioner and the UK prison inspectorate has also described the cell where Dillon was kept for the best part of two and a half years as not fit for human habitation.

Dillon’s decision to tell the police everything was also spurred by his remorse, according to the probation and his defence attorneys. Despite being advised on numerous occasions that he did not have to do what he was doing, given the great risk, Dillon persisted with his extensive and sustained cooperation.

Prior to the crimes, which took place over a five week period in 2011, Dillon had no criminal history at all. He was a 28 year old married man who was living a quiet lawful life. But at some point he was sucked into a criminal gang. He acted as the getaway driver in the West Star heist and was paid just $400 but he was then cajoled into taking part in the now infamous bank robbery at CNB.

Had Dillon not testified against his fellow criminals however, the police would have struggled to get the gang of armed robbers behind bars as their convictions were based almost entirely on Dillon’s testimony, which was corroborated by other circumstantial evidence. He also directed police in the extradition from Jamaica of one of the bank robbers who was caught and arrested there with around $40,000 from the robbery in his car, helping the crown to secure the wider convictions of the gang.

As the judge handed down the three year sentence to Dillon, paving the way for his imminent release, Dillon once again demonstrated his remorse as he expressed his apologies to the court and the people of the Cayman Islands. Admitting that this all came about because he had been hanging with the wrong people, he said he was deeply sorry for what he had done.

He vowed to do everything he could to live a valuable life and choose the right path forward.
In light of his apology, the judge expressed his hope that he would be reunited with his family, as he noted the heavy price the defendant had paid for what he said was “a crazy five weeks and you have paid heavily for those five weeks.”

As Dillon prepares to leave his solitary confinement and arrangements are now made for his removal from the jurisdiction, the offenders he helped to convict are appealing those convictions. David Tamasa, Andre Burton, Ryan Edwards, will argue against their convictions in the West Star case beginning Tuesday in Court One. Then, starting Monday 17 November the three men will be joined by Rennie Cole and George Mignott as all five argue against their conviction and sentence in the CNB robbery.

See related story on CNS:  Supergrass-go-free

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  1. Peter Schmid says:

    I don't think we should hold anyone in "unfit for human habitation" conditions! surely we are more civilized than that!

    • Context says:

      Except for Filipinos twenty to a room at $500 a week each. But hey, nothing wrong with that because landlords are human too…..

      • Anonymous says:

              08:13 One thing wrong with your argument.Filipinos living twenty to a room in Cayman,are not being held, ie they are not being detained,instead they chose to do so for their own convenience.

  2. Michel says:

    We can argue All day on this situation and opinions are exactly what they mean opinions. We have to feel sorry for the victims of these crimes as they too were traumatized. Same as Mr. Dillon who committed the crime as the getaway car driver. He did put his Family and Himself in a very precarious situation and has paid a price and will continue to do so for the rest of his Live. One as to admire his courage for repentance and help solve other crimes. We humans unlike our precious God do no Forgive easily as He does for he even sent His only Son to die on the cross to forgive the sins of our forefathers and even for us Today that repent to Him. Let God be the true Judge in this situation as one of your own loved one may find him or herself in this same situation. It’s high time for us to examine ourselves internally and ask : ” Are we All free of sins to Cast the first Stone in this situation. “. I know I am not for I need to Love my neighbor as I love myself and to Love one Another. Agape, Michel Lemay.

    • Anonymous says:

      And should we all start preaching and say Hallaluah!!! Really bringing religion into this???? Get real…he committed a crime he turned evidence….good for him, lets hope that he keeps on going the positive route, but to feel sorry for him…I don't think so and please keep your preaching to church…

    • Anonymous says:

      we can argue all day . If some people think that his confinement was too hard ,then maybe this should be the punishment after been convicted of a crime , then we can  live like back in the days  when you could sleep at night with your windows and doors open

    • Anonymous says:

      Leave the religion where it belongs, there are enough churches.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Wanna bet the others win their appeal+go after him??!

  4. Anonymous says:

    Mr. Dillon was wrong in what he did but I'm very glad that he gave up his partners in crime, and hopefully they will be off our streets for some time, and I hope the authorities will now make sure that Mr. Dillon moves to someplace unknown to, the criminal element of this island. 

    Now let's talk about something that has caused me much consternation re this and similar cases in recent times! Namely: If my memory serves me correctly, wasn't  there an employee of the bank who was originally named as an accomplice? And wasn't the initial figure of the amount stolen $300K and not the half million dollars now stated by officials? Having asked those questions, let me now ask this one. What happened to the money? I have never heard talk of how much of the money, if any, was recovered. So my question is where is it? There are so many things that bother me about  cases such as this, that it causes me to wonder. 

    I've come to the conclusion that Cayman is the easiest place in the world to pull a heist and walk away! Many of these cases never seem to have a definitive conclusion. I would like for someone to please tell us what happened to the $500,000.00 they say was stolen. This is not the only case in point. There are many others including some where the perpetrator has absconded to another jurisdiction and a family member supposedly pays back the stolen funds, but no call for extradition seems to have been made by the authorities, to have this person returned to the island and face the music.

    These things will continue to happen by those supposedly honest persons with all types of degrees who see how easy it is to pull the white collar jobs, so they come here with the sole purpose in mind of enriching themselves by ripping off some business after having been here long enough to have established their trust-worthiness in their place of work.

    It appears that a definite laxity exists within our prosecutorial system whereby in some cases the process is either ignored or not followed through. To prevent these oversights from continuing, the honest citizens of this Island cannot sit idly by and say nothing. We must speak out, if we are going to send the message that we will not continue to accept anything less than true justice!



  5. Anonymous says:

    I'm always tickled when I hear people express deep regret and sorrow…after they get arrested, exposed or captured.

    Saying "sorry" is easy.

  6. Anonymous says:

    So, where is the car?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Solitary confinement is tantamount to mental torture, and is not something a civilized society should tolerate, except in the most extreme criminal cases. The US is notorious for holding somewhere between 25 to 80 thousand prisoners in solitary, leading to a very high suicide rate. I would prefer a beating every day rather than to be deprived of all human contact, sunlight and anything whatsoever  to make my life meaningful and bearable. This extended mental  torture shoud never be allowed to happen in this country again, for whatever reason.

    • Anonymous says:

      Disagree. I think it should be for every single prisoner. That way there won't be a revolving door since ppl will not want to go back. 

      • Anonymous says:

        14.11 You might change your mind if you researched the solitary confinement a little. Cuba was good at that stuff because Castro understood the terrible results on the mind.

    • Anonymous says:

      So your saying that he should have been in with the guys he snitched on?  Really? Because that would make you feel better about the whole thing?

  8. ammokyd says:

    His lawyer states "he is sick and traumatized". Poor sole, I feel sorry for him, NOT.

    He took his chances when him and his gang stuck guns in bank employees faces, how must they have felt.

    Sick of these criminals coming up with this human rights BS. Criminals as far as I'm concerned, wave any kind of rights, if found guilty.

    • Anonymous says:

      The money was only going to be borrowed then paid back in full.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, as you rightly say, he needs more shoes. Perhaps he should wave them around. My God, the standard of English here is bloody appalling.

      Do you read?

  9. Anonymous says:

    First of all I would like to thank Mr. Dillion for his remorse and cooperation with the authorities. That was being a real man in admitting your wrong and doing your best to expose eviledoers in our community. You have been VERY brave.

    Crime NEVER pays! Let this be a warning to anyone "thinking" of doing wrong.

    I trust you and your family will be happily reunited and be able to live a peaceful and productive life.

    I pray that anyone who would harm you or your family would be stopped. You did what was right even though it was hard to do. Take comfort in the fact that you did what was right in the end.

    Prayers for you and your family.

    Thanks for all those involved in prosecuting the bad goys who showed no remorse. Throw the book at them! They embarass our beloved Cayman Islands. Both locally and abroad. Shame on you! 

    • Anonymous says:

      Dont you know that informing helps him to get a less sentence, so I suppose he is not stupid and know that they were going to throw the books on him so the least he could do was to bargain.

    • Anonymous says:

      First of all after reading about all the robberies /crimes / driveing the get away car , able to testifie and get the bad guys put behind bars . I think the Judge seen that he was more than a informer .   After reading all the comments posted  i must think that some  people like to see the crime continue in Cayman . CRIME is a bad thing .  I must agree that his confinement  was harch ,  Dont drive the get away car for a criminal , you know what that makes you !

  10. Anonymous says:

    Such a shame that this poor fellow has been treated so badly since his capture, imagine the frovility and joy that this young man would have shared with our community if these two years had not been wasted in captivity. Thank you so very much for taking the time to share all of the details of his plight with us… it really made me warm to him. Can't we keep him? Please?

  11. Anonymous says:

    He gave up a lot, the police are smiling. Let the man smile too.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Good on him for trying to do what he can to make this right BUT, perhaps he should have though of his family before participating in crime. And what about the people and the families that his crimes affected? I don't have a lot of sympathy for him unfortunately. Basically this is a news story about how being in jail sucks. DUH. And?

  13. Anonymous says:

    well, at least he helped put them behind bars anyway.  I really don't like when teachers tell children to tell them if there's a problem then the teachers turn around and call them tattle tales.  Children lose trust in adults and then they learn to keep things to themselves.  In the end, we have a lot of criminals and criminal activity.

    • Anonymous says:

      One would only become a snitch or tattle tail if one betrayed the trust of someone deserving of that trust.  Little kids know this.  It is unfortunate that many grown adults never came to distinguish between right from wrong; those deserving of loyalty and those hell-bent on creating misery.

  14. Anonymous says:

    He knew what he was doing was very wrong and had a choice but he still did the crime. He may have been in a tough place but 3 years for what he did was a very light sentence. Not only did he distroy his life but that of his family too, for that alone he should be ashamed.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Dillon paid a high price? Less than three years incarcerated for being involved in numerous armed robberies? Then we have to pay for his and his family's witness protection for the rest of his life? I would hope that RCIPS got a lot of info from him to justify that deal, so now we should see prompt arrests and successful prosecutions within the armed robber network! Betcha Dillon got the best of that deal!! 

    • Anonymous says:

      There has been positive results and convictions – that's the point you moron – he testified and now they're in jail – so it looks as if the RCIPS did get a good deal.

    • Anonymous says:

      10:41.Perhaps you could have someone read the article to you ,since it is obvious that you did not understand what you read. The witness has already contributed to the convition of several individuals in at least three serious crimes.How many convictions for serious crimes haveyou helped in.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Judge Quin is one of the best Judges we have along witht he Chief Justice.  He knows when to have mercy and he knows when to be hard.  Thank you Judge Quin.

  17. Anonymous says:

    I read this as an appalling indictment of our criminal justice system.  Wemust encourage key witness evidence and testimony in order to work through the warehouses of unsolved crimes in the Cayman Islands.  It shouldn't be so difficult to insulate a human from harm, that the only and best option is to deprive them of sunlight for two years.  The Cayman Islands should be smart enough to realize that we need reciprocal witness programs with other places in the world, and we should ask for those agreements.  I would hope that the Judiciary is obliged to deliver a better deal to this unfortunate partipant – even if he hadn't specifically asked for one himself – because that is the right thing to do.  Good Lord, they don't even know why they should want to encourage people to do the right thing – even if belatedly. 

    • Anonymous says:

      I read this as an appalling , i agree with all your points in your comment . While we have to look at the different  ways that you can be a witness to a case . If the law is that if youare just a witness and not seen to have any involvement in the crime , then this is the kind of protection you get . I would say that the witness   protection law is not a good one . Then i think we should go to the Goverment and have it changed .  This could be a good start in the fight against crime .

  18. Anonymous says:

    All the people previously expressing sympathy for McKeeva Bush's "crazy four weeks" should show the same for this young man. Or did he not give you a washing machine?

  19. Anonymous says:

    They should all be locked in a cell with a tiger. I have no sympathy.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Thank God we have a Judge in Cayman that take no B S .    The only thing that see wrong with his verdict is that they all did these crimes together , so then they should all spend thier time together .    Dont snitch on me .

    • Anonymous says:

      Appalling attitude 09.02, clearly you have something to hide.

      • Anonymous says:

        Appalling attitude 9:30 , clearly you must have something to hide why you protect the crimnals in this Island . When you drive the get away car for a crime , you then become acceory to the crime .  Then that make you doing the crime together .  09:02 is only trying to put some fear / sence in your head so that you would not want to be the next get away driver in a crime . Try to keep the  CRIME DOWN , NOT UP .

    • Anonymous says:

      Snitching is good!  Get reward money!  Provide for your family!

  21. Human League says:

    It is very sad to hear that criminals are treated so badly. If we don’t start to treat our local bank robbers better there won’t be any incentive for them to continue their pursuit of this traditionally exciting and lucrative career path.

    • Anonymous says:

      He wasn't actively robbing or threatening anyone, he received eight years for merely driving the getaway car for dangerous people he had known for 5 weeks as their accomplice.  He subsequently did the right thing and testified against these abominations – an action we desperately need others to do – and for his service he was locked up without sunlight for 2 years.  The worst of Gitmo had it better.  To add insult: he didn't ask for a better deal, so the Cayman Islands isn't giving him one!  That's absolutely the wrong template.  It discourages key witness testimony of the very kind RCIPS pleas for to tackle the libraries of unsolved crimes in Cayman. This is the Cayman Justice System. 

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you have misunderstood. In CNB he was on of the men who went in and demanded cash, made threats and all the rest. In Weststar he was the getaway driver. Two robberies two different roles. In court he described the others as his friends, who let him down because they used his car as the getaway car. Their kids played together. 

    • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      It is without a doubt necessary to ensure such criminals are sentenced to jail BUT solitaire confinement for a two year period is a bit much for the crime committed in this instance.

      Not even convicted murders are treated so harshly. It is a shame that the ones who deserve this treatment do not receive it but this man has in order to keep him safe from the rest.

      Sadly it is the easy way out…I have personally seen where a student at a school which I will not name, was placed in a restricted environment and given separate lunch hours due to the school's inability to control the gang of students who wanted to "jump" the individual.

      People need to address the wider and more serious offenders with the same severity and perhaps there will be a decline in crime.