100 hours community work for $100 bung

| 18/02/2016 | 11 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands courthouse

(CNS): A 54-year-old woman who was convicted of fraud for trying to give an official a $100 bribe to expedite her naturalization application has received 100 hours of community service after the court agreed with lawyers and probation service experts that it was an exceptionally sad case that did not require a jail term. Paula Yates Rivers was found guilty last September of bribery but the court heard she was trying desperately to get a passport so she could take her husband to the US for medical treatment.

Rivers, the first non-government official to be charged under the anti-corruption law for any offence, is a Cuban national who works at The Craft Market and has been married to a Caymanians for 20 years. The couple were both badly injured in a car accident, her husband very seriously so, and she is now the sole carer for the 71-year-old local man. Justice Charles Quin was sympathetic to the woman’s situation, describing it as an “unusual, exceptionally sad” case.

Both Rivers’ own defence attorney and the crown prosecutor agreed that the offence was the least serious of its kind — a one-off offence in which the woman had a limited understanding of the crime she was committing. Everyone agreed that a community service order, as recommended by the probation service, was the right course of action for the court to take.

Justice Quin said Rivers was not motivated by personal gain as she was seeking the passport to travel with her husband, who needed medical treatment not long after the car crash.

With no previous convictions and filled with remorse over what she had done, Rivers had offered a full apology to the court, accepting what she did was inappropriate. The judge said he was satisfied she was at very low risk of re-offending and unlikely to ever come before the court again, as he made a 100-hour community service order to be completed over the next 12 months.

The judge was also very concerned that the community service would not interfere with River’s work at The Craft Market. Her husband, who was a bus operator, has been unable to work since he was injured and Rivers’ wages of around $1,000 per month was the couple’s only income. He asked the probation service to find a suitable programme that would not clash with her job.

Justice Quin also made an emphatic recommendation to immigration authorities that her right to be in Cayman was not threatened, as her Caymanian husband relies heavily on her.

“I strongly recommended that her status is not to be disturbed,” he said, as he pointed to their 20-year marriage and the fact that her husband’s dependence on her would only increase as he gets older.

Weeping quietly as the judge made his ruling, Rivers expressed her gratitude to the court as the order was confirmed and Justice Quin acknowledged the strain the case had caused.

“Go home and tell your husband the news,” he said, when it was clear she would not be going to jail.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (11)

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  1. Jus da fax says:

    Is anyone asking the question why this lady, who makes only $1,000 per month, would think she needed to pay a bribe in order to get the passport?

  2. S. Stirrer says:

    If she was black she would have gotten seven years.

  3. Great Decision Justice Quinn says:

    For the uniformed blogger who obviously does not know much about the Country – the Cayman Islands has a Community Rehabilitation Dept that does an exceptional job and who recommended and agreed with the sentence. They will supervise her Community Service. After thanking the Civil Servant for their honesty, you should be considered about s system and a Country that has someone living here, married for 20 years, sole worker in the family and in desperation to get their “papers” so as to be able to travel. That’s the disgrace. If you think it’s not, ask yourself how you would feel if you were in that situation. Have a heart and a soul – God is watching you.

    • Batman says:

      Exactly what system are you talking about? Do you mean the immigration law that allows persons who are married to caymanians to apply for the right to be caymanian after 7 years.

      The laws are there but the government can’t force persons to use them.

      I agree with you about the DCR …It is a model department in government.

  4. Anonymous says:

    So $100? How about the other individuals that have agreed favours or a reduction in what needs to be paid? Aka the wealthy individuals that are offered status without the process.

  5. Anonymous says:

    first we need to thank the civil servant for standing strong against corruption. New citizens needs to understand that our Civil Service in much better than where they are coming from.

    I agree with the sentence – the system works!!

  6. Anonymous says:

    What are tragic are the impediments that local forces put in the way of people with such connections sorting out the residence rights properly and in accordance with the UK’s human rights obligations.

  7. Anonymous says:

    My question is who is supervising all those people who are supposed to be doing community work to ensure that some beneficial work is actually done?

  8. Anonymous says:

    Sensible and well considered end result. Congratulations to the judge for showing so much common sense and compassion.

    • Anonymous says:

      Judge Quin is the best. I have always found him to be kind and considerate- not only in his job as a judge but in his private life as well. I have always held him in very high esteem. When someone can hear all the circumstances and still have a heart makes that person very special.

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