Appeal court acquits woman in status scam case

| 09/11/2016 | 3 Comments

(CNS): Just days before a jury convicted Paul Hume Ebanks in a massive status scam, the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal overturned the guilty verdicts in the Marcia Hamilton case, a similar scam in which she and two other women were accused of peddling the false promise of Caymanian status to vulnerable victims for a fee. The appeal court acquitted Hamilton following a successful appeal by local attorney Margeta Facey-Clarke, who argued that the conviction was unsafe because there was no evidence to support the crown’s case that she became aware the scheme was false.

With clear support from the appeal court judges, Facey-Clark submitted that there was no evidence regarding the timeline to support the idea that she carried on selling status grants after she became aware it was a scam.

The local woman, who was serving a four-and-a-half-year jail term, was discharged and released from jail after the court found in her favour.

Hamilton, who is originally from Jamaica, received status during the 2003 mass grant, had always claimed she believed the scheme she was selling was the same as that. She herself had paid money to Judith Douglas and Kathleen Davis, the other women involved in the con, for her own daughter to receive status. She also admitted selling the idea to other friends and family, not to make money, which she claimed she gave to the other women, but to help them.

The crown argued that she was part of the scam with Douglas, who pleaded guilty and is serving two and a half years, and Davis who fled Cayman when the investigation started. But the question of whether she knew or when she knew the scheme was not real was always at the heart of the case.

Justice Charles Quin had found Hamilton guilty because he believed that she continued collecting fees and promising people status after she had asked Douglas for a refund for her own daughter’s application, demonstrating her knowledge and dishonesty in perpetuating the scheme.

But the defence lawyer had argued that there was no specific evidence to say when she knew and all the counts she was charged with of selling the scam before she knew could not in any event be viewed as dishonest. At the appeal Facey-Clarke said the lack of certainty regarding the timeline meant that none of the convictions were safe.

The full judgment from the appeal court setting out their reasons for the acquittal is expected before the end of this current sitting.

CNS was unable to report the matter until today as a result of a non-reporting condition imposed until after the Paul Ebanks case was completed.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (3)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    now that’s a deterrent!!

  2. Anonymous says:

    So is Ms. Hamilton admitting that she paid “someone” money for her status grant in 2003? She must have, if she stated that this more recent scheme was the same. Maybe she should state WHO she paid the money to back in 2003. Do it as a thank you for now being discharged and not deported.

    • Anonymous says:

      Too many imported/convenient status scammers, who use their dirty tricks to collect money. We all should be mindful of what they are noted for, tricks. Crimes tcommitted by those criminals are swept under the carpet and forgotten about until another occurs. They should have their status recinded, based on culpability. Stop off-loading and allowing undesirables to remain in this country.
      Everyone should abide by the laws of the land.

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