Numbers support need for warrant review

| 21/07/2016 | 23 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands courthouse, George Town

(CNS): More figures released this week by the judicial services in relation to outstanding warrants have demonstrated that many of them were issued over a decade ago. Around 130 of the estimated 1,300 outstanding warrants were issued in or before 2006, so almost 10% are more than ten years old, the records confirm. Senior police officers recently explained that they are responsible for executing all warrants issued by the courts, and given the need to prioritize the weekly onslaught of warrants, the RCIPS faces an impossible task to ever catch-up.

Each week more and more bench warrants are issued by the courts for defendants or witnesses that fail to appear in traffic and criminal cases, which are handed to the police to deal with, but they are also still dealing with over a thousand outstanding warrants, according to court records.

The high numbers are mostly due to the transient nature of the Cayman community and it is understood that hundreds of the warrants were issued for people who have left the island, having failed to appear for a traffic or other minor offence, though some are for serious crimes.

From the estimated 1,300 warrants currently outstanding, 128 are from last year, 148 from the year before and 46 from 2013, with similar figures each year stretching back to 2000, where there are eight warrants outstanding.

Speaking at a recent police press briefing, Chief Superintendent Kurt Walton explained the strain that chasing warrants puts on police resources. Accepting that the police are the only agency that can deal with warrant,s he said it was “unavoidable” for the RCIPS but it was still a major issue because of the constant demand.

“We are receiving 12 to 15 warrants per day from the court,” he said.

Estimating that there were well over 800 outstanding warrants, Walton said it was impossible to imagine that the police could address the backlog. He said they were mostly defendants who had failed to appear. Pointing to the report by Claire Wetton, the UK prosecutor who came to Cayman to offer local officials advise on making efficiencies at the court, he said he believed the situation was under review.

Walton, who is deputy commissioner designate, said police were in discussions with the court, but just because people may be overseas doesn’t mean that the warrant can be dismissed, he said and explained that it had to be executed before it was exhausted.

“There has to be a review around the legislation,” he said. However, he noted that there were talks about streamlining the system, which is not as efficient as it should be. But as enforcers of the law, he said, the police had to issue warrants as that was the law.

Acting Police Commissioner Anthony Ennis also noted that the backlog of warrants was not just down to people who had left the island, having not paid a speeding ticket, and noted the lack of consequences or sanctions for people who fail to appear. He said his comments were not aimed at criticising the judiciary but the lack of consequences had led to defendants “playing fast and loose” with the law and people were not respecting the courts.

“When someone does not appear and a warrant is issued and we go through the effort of bringing them in there should be consequences,” he said, adding that offenders should be fined or their bail pulled to make them realise that failing to appear is an offence.

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Category: Courts, Crime, Police

Comments (23)

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  1. Madness says:

    Approx 6000 civil servants employed to manage a resident population of around 60,000 with an annual budget of $600,000,000 (give a take a couple hundred million).

    Never in the history of public administration has so much been expended to achieve so little for so few.

  2. Ian Boxall JP says:

    In France if your vehicle exceeds the speed limit, and is caught by a speed camera, or is used to commit any other ticketable offence, a letter is sent to the address of the registered owner of the vehicle by ordinary mail in a plain envelope. The letter indicates only the date and nature of the offence and the amount of the fine, together with a warning that no excuse will be entertained unless the vehicle has been reported stolen. (Making a false statement will result in arrest and imprisonment). If the fine is not paid within 14 days of the date of the letter the fine is increased by 50%. After a month the fine is doubled and if not paid within 2 months the vehicle is impounded and sold. Note the owner of the vehicle is liable for these penalties whoever was driving, because it is assumed he or she gave permission for it to be used. If the registered owner had sold it and not registered the transfer: tough.
    Not surprisingly the French have no difficulty collecting their fines.

    • Anonymous says:

      But Ian, France operates on the basis of egalite. All persons there are equal before the law. That is not always the case here. It is plain and obvious that our laws are inconsistently and unequally applied. Our powers that be seem to enjoy the flexibility of having penalties only apply to some of the people, some of the time.

  3. Anonymous says:

    civil service incompetence as usual…..

  4. Anonymous says:

    How do hundreds of people leave via the airport with outstanding warrants, and why can’t the RCIPS access and reconcile these simple historical immigration records? It should take one person a few hours to reconcile their outstanding warrants list with those that have left the jurisdiction. The ineptitude at RCIPS is astounding.

    • Anonymous says:

      Bobo left and he ain’t coming back.

    • Anonymous says:

      How do they leave by the hundreds with outstanding warrants? Incompetence verging on dereliction. It also helps keep the reported numbers of expats involved in crime low. What did you think the reason was?

      • Anonymous says:

        Pity your second sentence was so bigoted.

        • Anonymous says:

          It was entirely factual, and there was nothing bigoted about it. The extent to which foreign nationals are involved in crimes is both under derptected and under reported and bigots rely on the resulting artificial figures to bemoan local persons without acknowledging the true extent of expat criminality as well. Are you not incredulous that only 2 months ago we were told that only 10% of prisoners were Caymanian, and 2 weeks ago the number jumped to close to 25%? Now we are told that hundreds of persons with outstanding warrants have likely “left the island.”

          • Troots Betold says:

            Thing is, it’s not only expats with warrants that are living comfortably elsewhere now is it?

          • Anonymous says:

            I say lets make it an equal playing field for all. Let everyone who applies for any post in Cayman undergo a criminal records check, disclose all previous convictions, etc. I mean Everyone.
            I can safely say that every expat i know has nothing to hide.

    • Anonymous says:

      The reason for outstanding warrants. Name duplications and the problems that arise with that.
      Cayman needs a numbering system, on everyone.
      Soon as you are either born or start working in cayman. You shoudl be assigned a social security number.
      That is the only way to track everything. It’s why modern 1st world govenrments have them. Social security numbers for the US. Social insurance numbers for Canada and national insurance number for England. and national identification number for europe.

      So why doesn’t cayman have one yet?

      • Anonymous says:

        People have names and passport ID already scanned in digital form at entry at an Immigration level. The problem is not a lack of national ID system, the problem is that the RCIPS hasn’t bothered to take an afternoon to reconcile their historical warrants with these existing records. This basic task should be routine and obvious even to a child. Those fleeing warrants should be flagged at the airport before they fly away forever!

    • Anonymous says:

      9:56 Public information on their limited mentality. Archaic indeed.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Ok. Let me spell this out for you. When a warrant is issued and a person does not respond you:

    1. Notify immigration (including border control)
    2. Notify traffic and vehicle licensing
    3. Notify trade and business licensing
    4. Notify the passport office
    5. Notify the police clearance department

    Have all of those agencies refuse to process persons unless and until the issue is addressed/resolved.

    Exactly how long do you think it would be before 90% of these issues were resolved at no burden to you?

    • Anonymous says:

      The problem is by the time a warrant is issued these birds have already fled the nest.

    • Anonymous says:

      Hear hear! Simple low-tech answer. 100 names per excel sheet page alphabetically- 13 pages: Staple and distribute to Immigration, Vehicle licensing, T&B, Passport office, and police clearance….oooh, should take about 2 business days. For goodness sake, this is so not complicated!!
      Once you find out you are on the list (as a law abiding citizen I had NO idea I had a parking ticket, I never saw the ticket on my car or got a notice in the mail?) The line will be long at the court to sort this out.
      Make the police chase criminal warrants, but anything civil (parking, child support, business judgement, etc…) leave this up to the offices above and watch how fast people respond!!

      • Anonymous says:

        and how often are you updating said sheet?
        and who are you arresting. john XXXXX sr. or john XXXXX junior. Or John XXXXX from east end, and not west bay. Or is that John XXXXX from south sound.

        Understand yet?

        • Anonymous says:

          Oh please God tell me that our police and authorities identify people by more than their last name and first initial, or are they even more incompetent than I feared?

          • Anonymous says:

            They use name, dob and address

            People move, alot. So that method is not conclusive
            DOB, there is really no national ID. no social insurance number. So, if the person isn’t carrying ID. How do you ID them? You ask and hope they tell you the truth. And if the police do not know him by face, and have no mug shot. Or the mug shot is 30 years old. How?
            Go on…tell us?! You seem to have all the answers.

            • Anonymous says:

              You create a culture of compliance by charging anyone who lies to or misleads authorities with those more serious crimes and ensure swift and effective penalties.

        • Anonymous says:

          Add date of birth.

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