Cops battle over 1,300 outstanding warrants

| 14/07/2016 | 23 Comments
Cayman News Service

Police make a traffic stop (file photo)

(CNS): The police’s battle with outstanding warrants is getting worse. According to the latest figures released by the courts to a local defence attorney Monday, 1,006 warrants have been issued to people who have failed to appear for either criminal or traffic cases in the court, and there are another 378 for unpaid fines. Last November, the police said they were dealing with a backlog of over 700 warrants, but as fast as they were able to round up offenders, more warrants were being issued.

The courts confirmed that, as of 11 July, there were 1,006 current warrants issued regarding failures to appear. The warrants are issued by judges and magistrates but the police are expected to follow up on them.

Local defence attorney Peter Polack, who requested the latest growing warrant statistics, said the figure reflects the failure of the under-resourced court system, which is issuing the warrants and then relying on the police to act on them.

Polack believes the probable reason for the high number is that many of the warrants were issued for people who have left the jurisdiction and failed to deal with their traffic or summary court offences before they departed. He said a review of the warrant load is desperately needed, and again expressed criticism of the director of public prosecutions (DPP).

“There are over a thousand warrants of arrest outstanding that are indistinguishable as to offence, age, nationality, pre-trial or post-sentencing,” Polack stated. “Many of these date back to 2010, when the head of the portfolio (the attorney general) was off island nearly three months without comment or criticism by those charged with oversight. While many Caymanians are being locked up, numerous foreigners and some of the well-connected flee the island as a reluctant DPP watches cobwebs grow on the UK Justice Expert Report.”

Last November, when there were around 700 outstanding warrants, Kurt Walton, then chief superintendent now deputy commissioner, said the police were carrying out weekly operations to try and clear the growing backlog. But he said the large number of failures to comply with court orders presented a serious challenge for the police

He warned that not only does the volume hold up the court’s work but it has a negative impact on the ability of the RCIPS to do other work, as he urged people to come clean with fines and outstanding traffic tickets.

“The execution of warrants is a resource-intensive exercise that the RCIPS will continue to carry out, but we appeal to members of the public with outstanding payments to the court to resolve these matters before we are compelled to execute a warrant at their home or place of work,” the senior officer said at the time. “Compliance with court orders is not optional … if an individual ignores a summons to court, then we have an arrest warrant to execute, without exception.”

Those who are uncertain whether they have outstanding court matters should visit the Criminal Registry Office at the Judicial Administration Building, between 9am-3pm, Mondays through Fridays.  The office can be contacted at 949-4296.

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Category: Courts, Crime, Police

Comments (23)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Courts need to clear these cases in a speedy manner, matters from 2012/13 still in court. Why is that?

  2. Anonymous says:

    IF the RCIPS had dealt with the drunk lawyer Simon Courtney’s DUI case from 2011, perhaps he wouldnt have been on the road to mow down those tourists.. AND, that DUI could have factored into the sentencing for that recent knock-down crash.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I tried to pay a parking ticket recently. XXXXX

    CNS: Please note that this issue is on Auntie’s list of questions to answer. Ask Auntie on CNS Local Life

  4. Anonymous says:

    Can I get 25% commission. If so I will happily set up a company. And hand deliver these people to the courts.

  5. anonymous says:

    Online payment option would solve most of the unpaid tickets problem.

  6. Anonymous says:

    This has to be an oportunity for an enterprising Caymanian to take this over. The Police obviously don’t want the job, time or resources. Stealing an idea, but if the fine doubled after 30 days non-payment, Government would still get paid, and there would be enough money to go after…I think, haven’t run the numbers…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Our islands are too small for offenders not to be found. Regardless if we have over 50,000 people, they still shouldn’t be such a huge backlog. Typical government system when none of the systems are in sync. We don’t live in the stone age, this is the 21st century and technology is so advanced there has to be a way to have all the systems in sync. I’ve looked at the judicial website and seen on several occasions where people are listed for whether traffic or drug offenses from 3+ years ago and those individuals are now dead. As the saying goes “dead man tells no tales”.

  8. Anonymous says:

    There was a time when the outstanding warrants were served very effectively by a certain team dubbed “The Octopus Team” and it worked very well. Was it the great Mr Baines who diverted them to other things? So today the same problem exists. Old Chinese proverb says “The more things change, the more they remain the same.”

  9. Anonymous says:

    If the offender is a permit holder, how come the regularly-required police clearance certificate will make no mention of court warrants, fines…

  10. Anonymous says:

    When the offender’s vehicle is due for inspection, simply have it impounded until the fine is paid.

    But also crack down on offenders who refuse to license, inspect or insure their cars. Arrest the owner and/or impound the vehicle.

    Make an example of a few people and the rest will get with the program.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Stupidest system ever. Talk about a waste of police time. If a ticket is unpaid it should double after 30 days and then be passed to a debt collector. Unpaid tickets should be an administrative issue not a criminal matter.

    The main issue is probably just people forgetting about it or the cops having out of date contact details for the driver.

    Typical CIG dysfunction and indifference.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I though Eric Bush was overall in charge of portfolio of Home Affairs? Does the AG have control over the courts and police too?

  13. Anonymous says:

    CIG is overwhelmed with information, and they have no clue how to use it. How many databases do we currently maintain in various departments that could be used to crosscheck against the warrant list? Work Permits, PR applicants, Civil Servants, Immigration, Passport holders, etc.
    CIG has leverage to collect these fines…work permits, border control, various permit applications, etc.
    If only someone had the intelligence to connect the dots and to intelligently use all of the resources at hand. Hiring more marginally educated cops is expensive and will not solve the problem.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand this. For me this is an easy fix: (1) check if the person listed on the warrant is a work permit holder/PR resident/Caymanian etc. That can be easily verified by the Immigration Department (2) once you can confirm that the individual in question is the holder of a work permit etc., then ensure that that individual cannot obtain a new work permit until all fines have been paid. If they have PR, same thing applies. Once they go in for a renewal, they have to pay the Court fine. If they have an issue with the fine, then they need to go to Court and get a Court Order to say that the matter has been resolved. Every time a warrant is issued a copy should be sent to Immigration to be placed on that person’s file.

    For those who do not fit any of the criteria above, i.e. Caymanians, serve them at their homes/place of work. I am sure that once folks see the police or bailiffs coming to their homes/work place they may start to think differently.

    • SKEPTICAL says:

      If they are on a Work Permit, just go round to their place of work and arrest them

      • Anonymous says:

        You assume they are working where their work permit says. Half the skilled builders from a certain country may not in fact laying block work but seem to be washing cars in condo car parks.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Why are immigration permitting people with outstanding warrants for their arrest to get on planes? This is sooooo simple to fix. The incompetence in government is staggering!

  16. Knot S Smart says:

    Can we see the list Mr Peter? And I promise not to mention those painted red pallets aka works of art – again…

  17. Noseeum says:

    Maybe they should second all the Special Constables to clear up this administrative mess. What is strange is that RCIP should have excellent admin given that the full time cops appear to stay in their offices all day.

    • Anonymous says:

      I personally witnessed, don’t ask me how, that it took 3 hours for a cop to make a report that included 4 columns and 3 rows after everything was explained by an expat-auditor. I am not kidding.

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