Police face ‘difficult circumstances’

| 30/07/2015 | 33 Comments
Cayman News Service

David Baines, Cayman Islands Commissioner of Police (Photo by Dennie Warren Jr)

(CNS): The commissioner of police has said the men and women of the RCIPS “continue to operate in difficult circumstances”, not least because of the closeness in the local community and relationships between parties involved in serious crimes. Following the recent release of a West Bay man charged with the murder of Victor Oliver Yates because the crown had no witness to call on the morning of his trial, David Baines said the police had not given up on apprehending those responsible for the murder but they faced ongoing challenges.

Unable to comment directly on the release of Justin Manderson because the investigation continues and the charges against the 23-year-old West Bay man could be resurrected, CoP Baines explained to CNS about the difficulties law enforcement authorities still face regarding eye witnesses and their reluctance to give evidence in court. While people give statements to the police about what they see, standing in the witness-box at trial is another matter.

“Family or personal relationships can engender inappropriate loyalty, or fear of retribution is often cited when witnesses choose not to come forward and do their civic duty,” the commissioner said via email this week. “I understand those reasons and the pressures people face; I don’t excuse them,” he stated, as he described the situation that the police strive daily to overcome when it comes to investigations of more serious crimes.

“The RCIPS will continue to seek sufficient evidence to present to the court in an effort to bring those responsible for the murder of Victor Oliver Yates Jr to justice,” the CoP said. “My thoughts are with the family of the deceased in any case. They want answers and justice as to why a loved one died in violent circumstances. The cessation of a case in the manner that has occurred denies them those answers and the justice they seek. We operate to a judicial system with evidential standards and requirements. Where the standards cannot be met, inevitably incidents as occurred Tuesday will happen.”

Manderson had been arrested and charged with killing Yates based on live witnesses who were present at Super C’s bar and restaurant on Watercourse Road in the early morning hours of 2 January, when the 22-year-old was shot and killed. But on Tuesday morning, on the eve of the murder trial’s opening, the crown revealed that none of its witnesses were prepared to come to court.

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran told the court that since the charges for murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm were brought against Manderson, a number of the witnesses who had provided the evidence on which the entire case rested were no longer willing to testify.

He said the witnesses had “individually indicated their unwillingness to substantiate the allegations, each for their own separate reasons”. The senior prosecutor said “repeated efforts” were made by the police and the Office of Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) to address the withdrawals of cooperation but without success.

“We have considered the possibility of seeking to persuade this court to admit the evidence of those witnesses under s.33 of the Evidence Law,” he told the court Tuesday. “In the circumstances of this case as they currently stand such applications could not be properly made in relation to all of the witnesses, whose evidence is required collectively to enable this case to be proved to the requisite standard.”

Section 33 provides for written statements to be admitted by the court but there are certain conditions that have to be satisfied, and although Moran did not outline them in detail, it was clear he would not be able to rely only on written statements to prosecute a murder charge.

“The nature of this case coupled with the individual characteristics of the relevant lay witness are such that applications under s.33 could not properly be made at this time,” he told Justice Malcolm Swift, who would have presided over the trial.

“The position in which the crown finds itself as a result of the above developments is stark,” the lawyer conceded, as he indicated that the crown could not press ahead without witnesses. “We have no realistic option,” he said as he entered a nolle prosequi to drop the case. The crown’s lawyer said proceedings could still be brought against Manderson on the same facts in the future, which had been brought to the  attention of the defendant, so he could not add anything more.

“It would simply not be appropriate for any further comment to be made by the crown. It would not be fair to the witnesses concerned nor, indeed, would it be fair to this defendant,” he said.

The judge discharged Manderson, who, with no other serious outstanding charges, was released after more than six months on remand in HMP Northward.

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Category: Courts, Crime, Police

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    First thing first : Applicant must be able to read and write
    Second: Must be friendly with a big stick mentality
    Third: Must be community oriented
    Fourth: Must be experienced in gang crime
    Fifth: Must be seen during the week talking and getting to know his beat.
    Sixth: Military background would be a plus
    Seventh: If in West Bay must be seen during day or night stopping by Super”C”, Kelly’s Bar, Club Inferno ,Logwoods.
    Eight: Police presence should be seen at tourist areas like Tortuga, Hell, Turtle farm etc for photo to make people comfortable .
    Nine: George Town should have police walk around or bicycle or motorcycle to relieve fear of stores from being robbed.
    Ten : We should have a minimum of 4 police officers directing traffic and maintaining pedestrians crossing street. By their mere presence they will keep tourist from causing accidents.
    Eleven : Patrol Swamp,Dog city, Rock hole and windsor park once per hour
    Twelve: Bodden Town need 2 officers riding bicycle driving through BT once per day and patrol car during night. East End needs the same and North side the same. Less then 100 officers needed plus you will have less crime and need for jails. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The police cannot fix a broken culture.

    • Anonymous says:

      …and wouldn’t the British member of the RCIPS know this very well?!
      After all, they clearly gave up on their own and relocated here.

      – Who

  3. Sharkey says:

    Mr Baines, stop the blame game, because the reasons why he was released is because the your police did not do anything to present the case to the crown prosecutors. Stop always asking the public to solve the cases for you, and start doing the work of a good police department suppose to do, and show leadership and head of the police department.

  4. Anonymous says:

    “Closeness in the local community and relationships between parties involved in serious crimes” is stated by Commissioner Baines as a reason why the RCIPS continues to be unsuccessful in fighting serious crime!! BS!! Twenty, thirty, forty years and more ago, Cayman was a much smaller community and the same close relationships existed then.

    Yes, serious crime was less but arrest and conviction rates were much higher proportionately. The proof is in the pudding. There are persons still in Northward for life who were convicted of murders in the 1980’s. Murders which had to be investigated – they didn’t turn themselves in. In the 1960’s various persons were arrested, successfully prosecuted, convicted and sent to prison in Jamaica for rapes and murders! Our population was under 12,000 in those days and everyone practically knew each other or were related to someone in the Police Force (as it was called in those days). But that did not stop them doing their jobs and doing it well!!

    So Commissioner’s argument is total BS and holds no credibility. Simply put, he and his RCIPS are inept – if not worse!! What exists is a culture of mistrust towards the RCIPS which is valid; caused by their poor relationships with the community and their own leaks of information provided. The latter is the reason for the fear of retribution he mentioned and contributes to what’s hampering investigations. Why didn’t he acknowledged that??

  5. Cayman colonials says:

    Yes you are right anon 3:37pm and AC the same spineless and immoral and unethical people who let you jokers come here from overseas and take control and run everything here. Who cowardly sat back and let others who stood up to your kind, be destroyed. who would willing victimize and disrespect their very own,rather than to send persons just like you packing. Yes we are all clearly now reaping what they and you have sown!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Surely it is time for law enforcement to be moved to national control from London, because local authority interference is a disgrace.

  7. NoMo ADHD says:

    Hey Baines, why didn’t your force take Easton Russell’s complaints that his brother was threatening to kill his entire family more seriously? Now you have a former law-abiding citizen sitting in jail because he felt that he had to take the law into his own hands because your guys were doing diddly squat to protect his family.

    • Anonymous says:

      I got to second this. I know Easton and his lovely family and I cannot believe he got locked up for this. It is clear had the police taken the family’s valid complaints seriously then it might not have ever come to this, and Easton would never have “snapped” after years of antagonistic threats to his family from his brother. Such a sad ending to such a horrible story.

      • Anonymous says:

        And that is exactly what the cops should think about
        Its their fault How many times did a victim ask for help?
        So now in a mind its the police to blame
        the one at fault is forgotten and a new enemy has emerged

        Is any cop out their smart enough to understand what I am saying?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Though the cops seem to be inefficient with the day to day “non action”, this gang related killing can not really be blamed on them. I think the concept of accepting written statements from witnesses is good….can’t blame them for running scared. Witness protection means uprooting families…some should welcome tye opportunity and see it as a way out…

    • Anonymous says:

      Gang related? You idiot! JR was not in a gang! This can be blamed on the DPP and the RCIPS as the depended on witnesses to secure the case and not actually got their hands dirty by doing their job! I bet if it had been your son, brother, nephew… you wouldn’t be talking such BS!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Describing this situation in another less “PC” way would be to say that the “Red Coats” and their tactics have no chance of winning against the native underworld guerrillas.

    • Anonymous says:

      Really??? What is a witness to do? Can you really blame the witness for backdown? Sorry Mr. Baines, you cannot protect the witnesses, let alone anyone that reports any illegal activity. The odds of the person finding out it was you is 100%!!! You can’t even protect your police station let alone a person!!!

  10. Anonymous says:

    Well said my friend.

  11. Anonymous says:

    In fairness to Commissioner Baines he took over RCIPS when it had just been torn apart by Tempura. The first thing he had to try and deal with wasn’t local crime but the exodus of around 40 highly experienced ex-pat officers and civilian specialists.

    The problem was that rather repairing the damage he further divided RCIPS with a series of very questionable ex-pat recruitments and some even dafter management decisions. As we all know the exodus continued but now it included more than a few local officers who decided they couldn’t work with him.

    The bottom line is that whatever Baines may (or may not) have done in the UK he was never cut out to be CoP. He may have been at home in the UK backed up by his ACPO friends but when he was put in charge of a small multi-cultural force without any backup the cracks really started to show.

    At the end of the day if he can’t hack it that’s mostly down to the British Governors who recruited him and then extended his contract. He’s given it his best shot but he was the wrong man for the job – let’s stop knocking him and start looking for his replacement.

  12. Tempura's Hippo says:

    To all those who conspired and planned for a very long time to come to these islands and create mayhem and chaos so as to help create a very hostile & dangerous environment and criminal situations and outcomes, in order to directly undermine our island, under the guise they are here to stop corruption. When in fact they have done very little other than create employment opportunities for family and friends and retired mates to fleece our economy. This very plan appears to be exactly what Operation Tempura inadvertently exposed and why we will ever get to the bottom of it.

    • Anonymous says:

      Best and most insightful comment on here for a long time. The worst part about it is that our lily-livered politicians know what is going on and have decided to sell out for personal gain.
      This reminds me of the part in Braveheart where the wicked king of England (Edward) explains ever so smugly how the Scottish nobles were “turned”.

      Well, as the good Book says, there is nothing new under the sun.
      I can assure the English/British that we will have our FREEDOM!

      • Anonymous says:

        Looking forward to running down the slopes of mount Trashmore in a “Braveheart” style bid for independence.

  13. Cass says:

    The mothers of these murderers must be so PROUD…..your boys grew up to be wana-be thugs and YOU let it happen. They refuse to work an honest job, refuse to take responsibility for their dirty actions and continue to harbor hatred and ignorance every single day they awake while knocking-up a bunch of idiotic simpletons along the way and continuing the disastrous cycle! How many more innocent people have to die? One thing is for sure, NONE of these thugs have Licensed firearms, so at the very least, the RCIPS could do their best to REMOVE all unlicensed weapons from these islands. If we can at least prevent these PUNKS from getting access to firearms we may stand a chance one day. Prevention is better than cure!

  14. Other Bloggers Efforts says:

    The buck stops at the top. Except at RCIPS where it is EVERYONE’S fault but the Boss’.

    • Anonymous says:

      The buck stops when somebody walks cuz nobody talks and then the crap continues. Actually the buck doesn’t stop. The killing continues and heros day needs a name change.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Will the released be put in some kind of protection program ?
    It is almost the weekend and another shooting would not look good

  16. Anonymous says:

    The public has lost faith in the RCIP – there, I said it! If they can’t enforce laws regarding petty crime and the public witnesses offenses daily without the police taking any action, what does RCIP expect? If you call them, response time is horrendous, there is no follow up, and no indication that reports are taking seriously or that the RCIP themselves are showing any sort of initiative to get matters under control. If they have to stand in a supermarket to ask Joe Public to tell them what they think the issues are…….I think that says it all!

    • AC says:

      Just like Caymanians to look for the blame elsewhere, in anyone else. To pick at things and call out the faults. YET this timid race dont fight for nothing, wont stand for nothing, cant endure a little uncomfort without expecting something in return at the end.

      What happen to the moral and ethical people in this country? Cant you just do it cause its right and not because you are depending on someone and something else to do there part first?

      • Anonymous says:

        Not sure this ‘country’ was ever populated with moral and ethical people. That’s just the way it is.

      • Anonymous says:

        It will remain to be seen what your actions and views will be after you had experience having to rely on RCIP to solve a crime that hit close to home and once you have witnessed their short comings and extremely relaxed attitude first hand, if you would still be willing to put yourself and your family at risk to get involved with solving a gang/thug related crime. Look at the extremely low success rate of convictions – more than half of the people they arrest are released again if not for good, than they are out on bail unless their trials starts god knows how many months later.

  17. Anonymous says:

    A step in the right direction, admit your failings, accept that the community have no real way to protect themselves against the criminal element if they give evidence. Now lets find a way to stop the criminals from walking free.

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