West Bay men convicted in gun case

| 23/11/2015 | 7 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands courts, George Town (Photo by Jaida Alexander)

(CNS): Two 22-year-old men from West Bay were convicted Friday of possessing an unlicensed hand gun, following a judge alone trial, in which the evidence against the pair was based almost entirely on the account of one key witness who has also been convicted of possession of the weapon. As he handed down his guilty verdict the judge said that he believed the evidence of Julia Lewis, who testified against Jordan Manderson and Austin Jackson that the gun she had tried to dispose of belonged to one of them .

Justice Michael Mettyear said he accepted that Lewis had told lies and she had admitted on the stand the “total fabrication” of her earlier evidence when first arrested and charged. However, he said he believed that when she came to the court she had told the truth about the events leading up to her arrest but he did not believe the evidence of either of the defendants.

Lewis had been travelling in her car with Jackson and Manderson when they had produced the pistol, according to her testimony. The police began a pursuit of the car being driven by Jackson, which crashed into a light pole by Countryside Village and she threw the gun out of the window. Jackson and Manderson had both denied the charges and said they knew nothing about the gun.

Jackson had also denied having any kind of a relationship with Lewis but the judge said that was a “completely ridiculous” lie. Jackson had claimed to hardly know Lewis and had only met her for the second time on the day of the incident but admitted that after his own arrest she had visited him in prison. The judge said he was sure Jackson had been in possession and possible showing off the weapon while in the car.

He said he considered the evidence longer against Manderson as his evidence was simple, in that he was sleeping throughout the ride, and had denied telling Lewis to pick up the weapon after she threw it out. But the judge said Manderson’s evidence did not add up after the crash.

He pointed to the trip around the back of Foster’s supermarket, when Lewis and Manderson had hitched a ride. Lewis had told the court that she had eventually disposed of the gun in the bushes there. Manderson had wanted to see where and had asked the driver to take them around, which was seen on the CCTV and confirmed by the driver and passenger. The judge said this made him believe Manderson had lied about not knowing about the gun.

The judge admitted that he had had to consider the issue regarding Lewis, who had lied previously about the incident and she now had a motivation to testify as she was seeking to reduce the mandatory minimum sentence she was facing of seven years, though she had said there were not guarantees. Nevertheless, he said her evidence was plausible.

He said it should have been an ordinary day in August 2012 when the incident occurred but a gun was produced in the car and then there was the accident. He said that there she was in her car with a gun that she had touched and in split second she made a decision to throw it out and then panicked when she saw it lying in the road. She had tried to distance herself from the weapon when she ran into the shopping centre to firstly throw it in the garbage and then in the bushes.

“On any account she was in big trouble and when she began to lie it was hard to stop,” the judge said, as he explained why he believed her evidence in court. The judge said his overall impression of Lewis was that she was a very good witness and a decent young woman who did best to give an honest account. Justice Mettyear said the question he had to consider was how the gun got there. He asked himself if Lewis could have taken it in her bag to work and then in the car and said not a word, despite the police chases.

“In my judgement that is highly unlikely,” he said, adding that it was far more likely that Jackson had it and was showing off, as Lewis had described.

Although there was no evidence to suggest that the loaded gun had been used in any crime that day or in the past, the two young men now face a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years for having the gun with them.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (7)

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  1. about time says:

    Great News! Tired of these punks getting away. Only wish it could be 100 instead of 10 years.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian women stay from low life boys!!

    • Anonymous says:

      Only Caymanian women. How about woman in general?

      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanian women seem to be extra fool-fool about these thugs, much more so than others. You ever see a European, Asian, or North American girl hanging around and/or having babies for these thugs? But even some supposedly well brought up middle class Caymanian girls are doing it.

  3. Anonymous says:

    The younger ones need to be put away for longer as they have a much higher chance of re-offending.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Justice was swift and sure for these two deserve to be behind bars!

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