Fire officer acquitted in hit-and-run case

| 13/01/2017 | 55 Comments

(CNS): A magistrate has thrown out the charges against senior fire officer, John Bodden, for a hit-and-run in 2015, for which he was accused of colliding with two brothers who were crossing the street on a bicycle and fleeing the scene. One of the boys, who was just 14 at the time, sustained a fractured skull, hip and leg when he was hit on Shamrock Road near Countryside Shopping Village in Savannah. Bodden was cleared of the hit-and-run charges but found guilty of using a vehicle without a certificate of road-worthiness and using an unregistered vehicle, for which he was fined $200.

Bodden, who was acting chief fire officer on the National Heroes Day evening in 2015 when the brothers were hit, has been on required leave from the Cayman Islands Fire Service since his arrest. He was cleared of the charges, as the magistrate agreed with his defence attorney, Laurence Aiolfi, and said that there was not enough evidence that it was Bodden’s car that hit the two boys.

During the trial, which was held last year, the court heard evidence from several witnesses and Bodden himself, who claimed a friend was driving when his car was damaged and he knew nothing about hitting the boys.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (55)

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  1. Jotnar says:

    The penalty for allowing a non registered vehicle to be used is a fine of up to $2500 or 6 months in jail or both. Yet the magistrate elected for a $200 fine for this and the unroadworthy offence, despite Bodden admitting that he knew the vehicle was unregistered and not only drove it himself but let another person, whom he knew so well that he didn’t even know his full name let alone whether he had a drivers licence, drive it. Really?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Really? They came here in the 1980s. Thats well into the prosperity era. No swarms of mozzies then.
    And as for the “distinguished” shade of justice by crippling young men by imprisoning by the hundreds for a smoke of ganja…

  3. Anonymous says:

    Acquittal or not, the facts indicate the man should no longer be in senior public office. A man with honour would resign in these circumstances. Has there been a letter of resignation proffered?

    • Anonymous says:

      Totally agree with this suggestion! wth is this news! he was acquitted etc but why send a PR to say he’s gone back to work! The Ministry better take time and respond on the other cases pending.

  4. Enuffisenuff says:

    Man, this really make my blood boil. These were children that got knocked down and whoever did it didn’t stop to even see whether they were alive or dead. We taxpayers of this country paid Bodden for 18months with our hard earned money only to hear a story that few could ever believe.
    What sticks in my craw though is how he could give a sworn statement that he believed his Jamaica friend was here illegally and he believed he was selling weed. Now when you give a statement to police and sign it, you are swearing that what you said is the truth right.
    Now this is what I want the higher ups to tell me – if the Commissioner of Police believe somebody is in Cayman illegally, he not expected to tell Immigration? If the Customs Collector believe that somebody selling drugs, he not expected to tell the Police? Of course they would be expected to and if we found out otherwise we would be up in arms, not right?
    This accident happened in January 2015 and from what I see, the police didn’t question him and get a statement about that night until like June, a long time after. I want to know what he has to show that he reported this Jamaican friend to Immigration and Police. He was his friend, he loaned him his unlicensed car, didn’t he also believe that he was going use it to sell weed?
    If he can’t show that he reported him, and he can swear under oath that on the night of the accident when he was Chief Fire officer he believed what he said he believed, he had to violate Alden’s standard in public life law and Franz’s public service values and code of conduct. If doing what he did is okay under them so called safeguards, then Alden and Franz need to tear up them worthless things because they obviously not saving us from our money being wasted and our reputation being trampled on. He needs to go, go, go and the senior civil servant who was up in court supporting him can go with him. Enuff is enuff.

  5. Anonymous says:

    wonder wha’ new constituency he from in GT,

  6. Anonymous says:

    So initially a police cock up, but this SENIOR fire officer had a ‘friend’ who was possibly illegal and selling weed (original report), who he let drive an unregistered car. Even taking his story, he should be sacked. How can he hold a senior position in a disciplined service?

  7. Tony Ward says:

    This guy with his childish ploy in his defense has proven that he is not intelligent enough to lead any Civil Service dep’t. IQ Test please before he does something worse now that he believes in his own invincibility. Matter of fact, why not IQ Test the whole CIG and it’s hirelings. Jobs for the boys stinks to high heaven here.

  8. Anonymous says:

    So am expat lawyer recently fabricated a story to cover up his drunken hit and run and he got a jail term for his trouble. ..I can only see one glaring difference in this case. .

  9. Anonymous says:

    I am hoping that the Deputy Governor as head of the Civil Service will take some action. When a senior Civil Servant swears under oath in a court of law that he was driving an unlicensed and uninsured car on the public road that is a bad example to set. But when he admits to lending the same car to a “friend” (thus continuing with the crime) whose name he doesn’t know, but whom he believes to be on island illegally and involved in selling drugs, then that should be sufficient grounds for him to be fired. As a senior officer in a quasi law enforcement department, he had an obligation to immediately drive that illegally resident drug dealer to the nearest police station.

    • Anonymous says:

      And the contempt he has shown the court and RCIPS by obscuring this “friend’s” identity (if this person actually exists). Meanwhile, two kids severely and permanently injured were left for dead, and in all this time, nobody has been called to answer to that!

    • Anonymous says:

      Well observed , but to add further , who lends their vehicle to a person they don’t know ? It does little except to reek of a false statement to evade a charge for an offence. He has the vehicle , but un-documented to be current , then admits lending it to a total stranger . To go further , how long was the vehicle redundant in its paperwork , whilst the owner continued to use it ? I’ll close now by asking is this the type of behaviour the CIG condones from its civil service employee’s?

  10. Jotnar says:

    Judicial and Legal Services Committee. As 10:01 says, they make recommendations on the appointment, removal and sanction of judges. If he is right, attendance by one of the JLSC at a trial where they had a relationship with the accused would be highly improper. The majority of its members used to be UK judges and others who would be completely independent of local members, but it now has a local majority – presumably to ensure understanding of Cayman issues. 10:01 thinks it has gone too far in that regard!.

    • Enuffisenuff says:

      What 1001p said was “who I understand to be the top executive to the JLSC”. ‘Executive to’ is not ‘member of’. I saw nothing in the post about the membership of the JLSC so I am lost as to have you came up with your last sentence.

      • Jotnar says:

        Good point. Withdraw my comment about it being improper for a member to attend, and replace it by saying almost as bad for the top executive to attend.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Thanks for bringing this out in the open anonymous at 10:01p. I think it is disgraceful.
    The Principal of Hampton School, an all-girls boarding school in Jamaica, has just been sent home for 2 weeks and may eventually lose her job as headmistress which she has held for over 12 years. She chose to attend court in support of a lady who is a very good friend of hers. The lady was there in support of her husband who is a pastor and was before the court having been charged with rape and indecent assault of a 15 year old girl
    I mention this case in Jam because clearly this lady here needs to also suffer some consequence for her irresponsible actions. People need to appreciate the significance of the positions that they hold and they can’t be putting the responsibilities to their office down one side while they honour their friendships.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Magistrate Wilton Hercules, Magistrate Kipling ‘Cripplin’ Douglas; distinguished men who served us when the mosquitoes were thick and the lawyers were scarce and those who came before them quivered in fear. Today, the mosquitoes are almost gone, the lawyers are thicker than the mosquitoes ever were and the doers of evil have no worries. Poor Cayman

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes well a few of us can still remember Crippling’s performance in 1989 when presiding over the trial of a prominent local politician for possession and discharging of a firearm in a family dispute. The top boys all still get off; witness more recent events.

  13. Anonymous says:

    The DPP must be soooo disappointed! I am sure they really tried their absolute bestest to secure a conviction. Right everyone? I’m sure there was nothing else going on here.

    What a shame they couldn’t produce the “friend” whom damaged the car, or the object the friend hit, or find any evidence of paint transfer between the car and the bikes, or ask the defendant how and at what time he travelled home that night.

  14. Unison says:

    All I can say is WOW !

  15. Howie says:

    For the not so smart what the heck does JLSC mean?

  16. Anonymous says:

    He should be charged and locked away until he finds his friend who he gave permission to drive his car. Mr. Boddens’s invincible friend or Mr. Bodden hit those kids. WICKED act. NO JUSTICE for the children.

  17. Anonymous says:

    We all know what this is and it is shameful!

  18. Anonymous says:


  19. Anonymous says:

    Seriously? What a joke this place is.

  20. Anonymous says:

    So is “his friend” going to be charged? Or are we going to send the wrong message to these two young boys who were hit & Left injured. Maybe the prosecutor & the AG should personally tell the victims how they dropped the ball (yet again)!

  21. Anonymous says:

    While I agree that there was not much in terms of hard evidence, this person’s statement to police was one of the most convoluted and unbelievable statements I have ever heard from someone who would want people to believe that they are innocent; seriously. How someone in the civil service felt was worthy of heading a department of 100+ staff, even on an acting basis I will never know.
    I won’t go as far as to suggest that what I’ m about to say had any bearing on the decision by the Acting Magistrate but I found it absolutely amazing that a senior civil servant, who I understand to be the top executive to the JLSC that interviews and recommends magistrates and judges to be hired, was there for almost all of this trial, clearly in support of the accused.
    This cannot be appropriate by any standard. Friendship and professional responsibility cannot be mixed up this kind of way. Friends of police officers end up before the court but I never see police officers coming and sitting in court day after day in support of their friends.
    The Acting Magistrate has no real security of tenure and she may well aspire to be a full time Magistrate one day. I cannot believe that whoever this civil servant reports to gave her ‘permission’ to attend knowing why she wanted to attend. If she acted solely of her own volition, she needs to be firmly disciplined. She clearly is in a position that she does not appreciate the significance and responsibilities of. I say no more.

  22. Anonymous says:

    DPP should appeal this!

  23. Anonymous says:

    disgusting…cayman justice is no justice….

  24. Anonymous says:

    what a joke.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Shame! Shame! These two young boys will never be the same.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I wonder what would have happened if I’d been driving, I’m not from here, hmmmmmm

  27. Anonymous says:

    Not guilty does not mean innocent

  28. Anonymous says:


  29. Anonymous says:

    Got to join me that Lodge….

  30. Anonymous says:

    No justice no peace!

  31. Anonymous says:

    Of course, as an added bonus, he gets up to two years paid leave in this case.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I’m sure he enjoyed being paid for nothing for 2 years after a long and otherwise distinguished career of hard and dangerous work while waiting to hear if he would ever be able to do it again. Such callous comments on here lately.

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes I’m aure he enjpyed it too. Speaking of callous comments, I am quite certain you would be singing a different song if you were a parent of those two boys.

      • Anonymous says:

        “Otherwise distinguished”. Quite.

        He blew it, and even if he didn’t commit this offense, by his own admission he was consorting with a drug-dealing illegal immigrant. Totally unacceptable for a senior public servant.

        Nobody can seriously believe his cock-and-bull story. There’s something smelling awful bad here. Surely we can at least expect reasons from the magistrate? Who was he/she?

  32. Veritas says:

    This is a sad joke, why bring the case if there was no evidence it was his car. Why also did he dream up a story that this “friend” who nobody knew of, was driving his car if it was another vehicle?.

  33. Anonymous says:

    Sad sad sad!

    So was the friend charged no! Although acquitted I am assuming that the crown did not prove a good enough case, but that still does not mean he did not hit those poor kids!

  34. Anonymous says:

    The fines imposed for driving a vehicle without a valid registration are laughable and should be 10 times the amount of what is being fined. Time to make respective changes cause taking a chance and opting out of paying the licensing fees and if caught only paying a fraction in penalties of the actual annual fees is certainly NOT a deterrent.

    Wake up Government. You are encouraging petty crimes.

    • Anonymous says:

      They been doing that from time Noah built the Ark!

      Looka Jeff Webb, Canover Watson, we all know more people down here was involved, yet none of them was called to testify or questioned etc…

      You just can’t make this stuff up….

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