Murder suspect freed as witnesses withdraw

| 28/07/2015 | 46 Comments
Cayman News Service

Justin Manderson

(CNS): A West Bay man charged with the murder of Victor Oliver Yates (22), who was gunned down outside a local bar in the early morning hours of 3 January, has walked away from court before his trial even started after the crown withdrew the case Tuesday. The deputy director of public prosecutions dropped murder and gun possession charges against Justin Manderson (23) as he entered a nolle prosequi, effectively abandoning the case for lack of witnesses or evidence.

Manderson was expected to stand trial on Wednesday but as the court began a closed-door pretrial hearing Tuesday, the crown revealed that none of its witnesses in the case were willing to give evidence in court, leaving the crown with no evidence at all against the West Bay defendant.

Patrick Moran, the deputy DPP, who was about to embark on his first murder trial since coming to the jurisdiction, said the prosecutor’s office was unable to press on with the scheduled case.

Manderson was released from custody Tuesday afternoon, following seven months on remand.

He was arrested just days after the Yates was killed in a suspected gang-related shooting at the back of Super C’s Bar and Restaurant on Water Course Road in the first murder of 2015. While several people have said they saw who shot Yates, very few witnesses had spoken to police about what they saw, despite constant appeals from investigators and the victim’s family.

The murder, which now appears destined to become a cold case, triggered a string of tit for tat shootings in West Bay and George Town, which claimed the lives of David Ebanks and more recently Jason Powery and saw others wounded as gang tensions escalated.

CNS has contacted the police commissioner about the DPP’s decision and the age-old problem of reluctant witnesses and we are awaiting a response.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (46)

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  1. says:

    4:19 go back to sleepzzzzzzzz have you been reading news. we have convicted at least 5 murders based on witness evidence and all the witnesses are in a witness protection programme. Please educate yourself before posting this rubbish.

    • Anonymous says:

      Am a witness protection? ? Lmfaoo cayman doesn’t have one of them … by time they give u somewhere to stay… The whole world knows….. I was shot in the leg and when I went to the station to give my statement … guess what they did?? Ask me about a phone that my FRIEND had bought not knowing it was stolen… keep in mind this phone incident happened 2 years before I got shot …. further more the incident had nothing to do with me … and that was the question i got asked the day after being shot… that is some protection there huh?? … and we supposed to feel safe with the police force we have here … u gotta be outta ur mind!!! Plus Northward is paradise for anyone here … 3 meals a day… no bills to pay and gettin paid for being in there , if u married u get benefits and alone time with ur wife… its more like a staycation. .. no punishment there… that’s why 80% of who gets out of prison end up back in there for the same shit!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    Damn, I was thinking about a nice long break at tax payers expense in hotel Northward, but it seems you can’t get in there for love nor money! Murder, stealing from employers no longer work. Anyone any ideas? Maybe I should break in and hope no one notices? Crime ain’t what it used to be.

  3. Anonymous says:


    Those are the reasons these guys are attracted to this lifestyle.
    Sadly, they fail realise that over the course of a year they would make much more $$$ with a steady, skilled job.

    In the end, these fellas are left with tattoos, battle scars, street cred, and Facebook pages with embarrassing photo timelines of gold rings, gangster poses, cash spreads (from those 2 robberies back in 2011) and no prospects of a decent future.

    Furthermore, and most crucially, the very same GIRLS that are chasing them today (and trust me, there are many – maybe even YOUR precious little daughter) will abandon and ridicule them the minute they snap into grown-up reality.

    The ex-girlfriend / baby-mudda will be supported by her family, she will probably join the church and maybe even spearhead a campaign to “end the violence”. The very same violence to which she was solely attracted just a short while ago. (Of course the guy will be labeled as a no-good, deadbeat father … as if that was unexpected from Day 1.)

    What is the solution? No one seems to know. This is the challenge for every society today from the USA to UK, to Germany to Cayman. Feral young males running around with anger and aggression aimed at their peers.

    What I do know, and this is supported by study after study, that a stable family environment is the best deterrent to this particular variant of societal breakdown. Specifically with a strong male figure present in the household.

    That being said, considering the above, it appears that we have at least one more generation of this to endure.

    I will end by saying; thank you Daddy! Although we didn’t always see eye to eye, you were my source of guidance and a strong example of what it is to be a man.
    I only wish more of our young males were as fortunate as I was.

    *Interestingly, the curse of fatherlessness is not absolute. Because when I think about it, my dad grew up, correction – was dragged up, in a very broken environment. Nevertheless, he did right by his family.

    Who knows, there may be hope for us after all.

    **P.S. I would be remiss if I failed to mention the influence of modern Reggae Dancehall and (c)Rap music in this situation. Many of our thugs have literally regarded “artists” such as Vybz Kartel and Lil Wayne as father figures – both convicted criminals by the way … the former as a murderer.

    In my humble opinion, morally strong male leadership is what is required to turn around this situation. Unfortunately, it is practically politically incorrect to express such sentiments today.

  4. Anonymous says:

    It is crap that we are blaming low income and poverty for thugs killing people. Unless you are one of the few fortunate people in the world to be born into money we all start at low income and poverty it is what you do with and in your life to make yourself rise above the troubled times. Get a education, get a job and make your own money. That is how you get out of having low income household and poverty. Stop relaying on other people to just give you what you want and start earning your place in society that people can be proud of. There is not one person who does not like to hear a story about how someone who has gone from rags to riches.

  5. Anonymous says:

    New comedy series to be released by Cayman 27 NCIS Cayman!

  6. Anonymous says:

    The police are dirty and corrupted and have NO SUCH THING as a Witness Protection. Why should someone have to give a statement and be scared to sleep at night the police should protect them right after all they’re doing the right thing Wrong the police are not interested in protecting witnesses they just want their information and carry on with life like nothing happened.. The island is becoming a 3rd world country I tell ya, I haven’t seen more corruption in my life

  7. The Country With No Plan.,, says:

    Since we will never “kill” ALL the thugs, maybe we should move on to next question, WHY? And what we doing about it?

    Why is it happening? No child born at our hospitals had a label on their forehead when they were born – that they would be a thug?

    Why is it happening? What makes them different than you and I? They were not born with that destiny. So Why?

    Why? A breakdown in parenting? Lack of vocational and apprenticeship programs? No role models? Mental health? Unemployment? Poverty?
    Why? Until we deal with Why? and What can we change, it will go on.

    They have mothers, brothers, cousins that are ready to follow the same path. Why? Ever stop to ask that question? Why?

    Prison, punishment, police – all find and dandy BUT is anything changing.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Let’s not waste time on the minor issue of crime, lets get stuck in to the major problem of law abiding loving people of the same sex wanting to have equal rights as every other law abiding person and lets see how we can humiliate them with nasty biblical stuff that thinking people of average intelligence no longer believe and make sure we keep our country pure and clean..

    • Anonymous says:

      You must be new here. If you look at the number of thumbs down and troll clicks, you’ll realize Cayman doesn’t do irony.

  9. coprophagiac says:

    What needs to happen is that the law can summons witnesses, while they still have a right to not answer new questions, they should be compelled to answer questions regarding their original statement.

  10. Anonymous says:

    The people of this country need to grow a pair and take a stand against these rotten apples. When is enough going to be enough. These thugs are the plague and the cure is for people to open up to the police and spill the details. To keep information like that is sick. There are more good people in this country than there are thugs. Let’s clean up the streets and make it really Caymankind.
    And to the police and Prosecutors, and lawmakers…wake up. Change the laws, keep these animals in where they belong. Enough letting them out. Do your jobs flawlessly, diligently, and make the dam charges stick!

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem is that everyone just waits on the other to make a start to clean up and too often you find in life that when you do open your mouth and take a stand, everyone who claimed they would be behind you is suddenly running for the hills! The ones who should be taking a stand are the families of those criminals and the parents of those girls who are running up and down with those criminals. Stop pretending you don’t know what is going on and put some order back in your own house!

  11. Anonymous says:

    What we need here is a New york / LA style gang unit that will smash and arrest or kill these thugs right in their bad deeds. But we won’t do that because its not nice, we need to be open minded and offer these thugs government training and government jobs… (because that’s the only reason they are being gang bangers as we all know).. then people will complain about police brutality, complaining about the poor people being targeted unjustly etc etc etc.. Until a few of these wannabe gang bangers get shot in the face with a riot control 12 gauge, the crime will continue a they have no fear of timid cops, or the judicial system. Its a joke. Our country is being governed by a bunch of cowardly ignorant and plain stupid thugs and their disgraceful supportive lowlife families.

  12. Obvious says:

    People are too scared to talk, shitty forensics team, police and legal system don’t work. Same story different day. “Police have no evidence”, this not new, but if you could contribute as a witness would you?Would you even call with a tip? What are we doing?
    Fact is most people especially locals cannot see beyond themselves and their families so trying to get someone to look at the benefit to society on a whole especially when it could possible mean trouble for them is very hard to do. Worse if you don’t have evidence, it is a greater risk. It a good thing we don’t need an army because we would have no courageous heroes to go to war. Don’t forget the type of individuals that are around these places, most cant be trusted with their own responsibility much less of a selfless brave act to be a witness. I don’t know why they scared, not as if they themselves are a great contribution. Why you? no Why not you? Parents and family members usually know that their kids is up to no good, lets be honest, some people are STRAIGHT rotten, no good, no use. Yet we aid and abide, mothers on news parading for the release of these ingrates just to bring them home for a few weeks before another trip to prison. We making these monsters. You see suspicious activity/crowds/noise. Do you call police? That may be the time when they are caught with a gun and get that blessed 10 year sentence that they couldn’t get for murder, for drugs for crime. I bet that stick tho. “That’s my nephew, but he came home suspiciously bruised and bloody around this time”. Right is right, wrong is wrong families need talk the truth. After all these gun men would be less likely to kill their own.We may as well say let the idiots pick each other off one by one. Society has no use for people so grossly reckless to intentionally take another mans life. They say Silence gives consent, we need really step up and stop talking bout the obvious and focus on what little things we can do to make a difference.

  13. Too Many Foreign Police says:

    Just another day in this gangsta paradise and all we can hear is we need more police to reflect the diversity of this community who come here and do squat for this island but run around perpetrating fraud and spying on innocent people.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Why does RCIPS depend only on witness participation to build cases against suspects, haven’t they ever heard of circumstantial evidence? Especially in this day and age of forensic science? Witness evidence should only be relied upon as supporting evidence, especially in the culture of silence that exists in Cayman.

    Of course they always grab up a suspect to look like they’re doing something, then waste public funds when their flimsy cases can’t stand up in Court. DPP is just as wrong for putting such weak cases before the court in the first place.

    God help us with our entire public legal system controlled by inept people!! Because of them, criminals have a paradise!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed, why do we have police and investigators and all this and then rely 100% on witnesses. What ever happened to evidence, finger prints, DNA and the cameras?

    • Anonymous says:

      its a competence issue amongst other things…

  15. Anonymous says:

    To quantify the scale of the problem, consider that $110mln in cash sent to JA last year. CASH. Weigh that against only 9000 JA permit holders – many of whom live below poverty level…

    • Anonymous says:

      So they sent an average of $12k home each last year. $1,000 per month. Not exactly a huge amount of CASH.

      • Anonymous says:

        that is a lot of cash, like a lot. anyone who can save 1000 dollars a month here is making money and don’t get me wrong but i see a lot of them living like beggars..

  16. Anonymous says:

    Don’t let JR have died in vain. If this guy didn’t do it and someone saw who did, please, PLEASE come forward and bring justice to the family and friends of JR and all the other youths we have so tragically lost of late. The senseless murders will continue until you band together and stand against this.

  17. Anonymous says:

    And many more cold cases to come!

  18. sister says:

    Stupid idiots. Jason wasnt killed because.of the death of yates so atleast update facts

  19. No More Paid Witnesses... says:

    Another possibility to consider is that the Police arrest persons without evidence, based on what they believe, and then go about finding cocaine addicts, Jamaican helpers, disgruntled girlfriends, and others unemployable and put them in Witness Protection and send them overseas to UK and Jamaica, in lieu of their testimony – which is basically told to them. Now they have run out of people who are willing to leave their home. They will soon start looking for some Pilipinos and more Jamaicans to fill this gap, as receiving a monthly check for life, without working, was becoming a form of employment offered by the Police and paid for by OUR money – yet crime is worse now. Maybe, they have been locking up the wrong people? Just another opinion. In this case, there were no Witness to intimidate – instead of the view that the witnesses were intimidated.

  20. Anonymous says:

    And therein lies the problem, no one prepared to testify or to do the right thing in either this or corruption issues, so these problems will continue and grow. Personally I believe the police know exactly who these gangs are and what they have done, they should be all taken in at once and witnesses be given protection in judge only trials. In fact there should only be judge trials in Cayman as incestuous networks can get to any potential juror

    • Anonymous says:

      It is simple. People do not want to die. The police don’t protect witnesses very well. And we have all seen that the murderers have no problem with retaliatory killings. –

      • Anonymous says:

        Police cant protect a witness and family 24/7 within Cayman for the rest of their lives. So that argument is a non-starter. Do you expect the witness to have an armed police guard 24/7?

        Its just a cheap argument. Yeah, blame police. Sure.

        • Anonymous says:

          The RCIPS have a duty to protect the public generally. witness protection is in place so that the RCIPS can protect people who give evidence in cases like this.

          Unfortunately, the Cayman witness protection program is very badly run by certain RCIPS officers who do not care about those they are supposed to protect. People come forwards, but when they see the reality of Cayman Witness protection, they would rather stay silent and live their own peaceful life, instead of giving it up for a life where you can not contact your family, where you rely on the RCIPS for hand outs and where everything is uncertain. That is the reality of a life on witness protection at the hands of the RCIPS.

          I certainly would not want that life for myself.

      • Anonymous says:

        Is there a problem with police being intimidated? Where is the source of that comment?

      • Anonymous says:

        It is not simple 9.15. It has to be stamped out or it grows like a cancer. I suggest a loud message to RCIPs from all interested parties and if they fail to sort it then vigil antes need to be formed. I don’t agree with such groupings but if no one is doing anything there will be no choice. And you can bet your bottom dollar RCIPS would be over vigil antes like a swarm.

    • Anonymous says:

      It does not have to be protection in this country, and if you put these idiots away and hard police the future, problem gone. Or are you all just usual cayman nay Sayers with no ideas of your own?

  21. Anonymous says:

    What does CNS expect the DPP and the Commissioner of Police to do or say. Frankly, a judicial system is only as good as the people who contribute towards law and order. Maybe it is time to look at plea bargaining in this jurisdiction. Give a little to get a little. Get jailhouse informants or something along those lines. Set up an anti-gang unit and infiltrate the gangs. Something has to be done because at some point, there will be no young men left and we will be wondering where did we go wrong.

    • Anonymous says:

      Outrageous! Maybe a DPP WITH experience in small community gang warfare would have been more appropriate. Maybe a dedicated task force from a non regional jurstriction should be used for each “gang” case. This would serve to protect our local police from intimidation, and would lead to securing a solid case with the right result.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sadly there will be more blood spilled now.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I do like the whiff of witness intimidation in the morning.

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