(CNS): Hassan Syed, who was found guilty Thursday of twelve charges relating to the theft of more than half a million dollars from the college coffers when he was the UCCI president, was remanded in custody by the judge who heard his case, despite pleas for his bail to continue until sentencing next month. Syed’s doctor testified that he is in remission from cancer but still suffering from myriad medical problems and the “shock of Northward” could be dangerous to his health.
But as Dr Grant is also the prison physician, the judge said he believed he could receive the tests and treatment he needed from the jail. Justice Phillip St John-Stevens pointed out that Syed had been found guilty of stealing at the very least $500,000, but the crown had argued it could amount to as much as $700,000, making it clear he would be facing a long custodial sentence.
The judge described Syed as an intelligent man who was highly regarded but he was a persuasive, manipulative, dishonest individual who had employed a number of deceitful ways to steal a significant sum. He said Syed had used false documents, even airline tickets, to steal the cash and had fled the jurisdiction when his dishonesty was about to be exposed.
Justice St John-Stevens said even when he was overseas he had directed someone to destroy evidence in the case. He said he was satisfied that Syed would have the wherewithal to secure some means of getting out of the jurisdiction
Prosecutor Toyin Salako offered additional arguments against bail. She pointed out that Syed was now convicted and facing a long sentence with no family ties to the jurisdiction. Although Syed had eventually returned to Cayman without the need for an extradition hearing, he did not come back voluntarily, she said, but in the custody of the RCIPS, after he had at first contested the order for him to return and remained in a Zürich jail for seven months before he agreed to return to face trial.
She also pointed out that he was in Switzerland when he was arrested, which demonstrated that he had significant resources and was not incapable of finding a way to flee, as he had after he realized the authorities were on to his dishonesty at UCCI.
Syed’s local attorney, Amelia Fosuhene, had requested bail until his sentencing hearing, which is expected to be set for April, so he could get medical treatment. She told the judge that Syed had been on bail since he came back to Cayman in May 2014 and had never broken any of the conditions over the almost three years. She noted that the court held sureties, his passports, and he had been wearing an electronic monitor while he was awaiting trial on a 9pm to 8am curfew and was checking in daily at the police station.
Syed has been staying with a prominent local family in South Sound throughout the case and Fosuhene said that while he had no direct family ties to Cayman, he had a significant support network. But she urged the court to let bail continue for a little while longer so that he could get the test and treatment he needed, which he had not kept up with because of the trial. She pointed to the evidence given by the doctor and Syed’s precarious health.
Despite her best efforts, the judge made it clear that, having reflected carefully on all the unique set of circumstances, he had concerns that Syed would not appear for sentencing and remanded him in custody. Syed appeared to accept his fate, putting on a brave face as he was sent down to the court cells.
No date has been set for the sentencing as the court has asked for information to inform the process, which could take several weeks.
Category: Local News