Taser cops dodge punishment and conviction

| 09/03/2017 | 43 Comments
Cayman news Service

Police officers charged (Photo courtesy Cayman27)

(CNS): Suspended police officers Austin Etienne and Cardiff Robinson, who were both found guilty after trial of common assault for using excessive force by tasering a suspect twice during an arrest, walked away from court today with no convictions or any punishment but simply ordered to pay $400 in costs for their four-day trial. Magistrate Philippa McFarlane said she believed it was an isolated incident of poor judgment and admitted she was taking an “exceptional course” because of what she believed was a positive contribution the men have made to the community as police officers.

The magistrate said the men did not need probation or supervision, as she described their job as a community service and a conviction would undermine their careers. She said the men would be discharged from the crime provided they did not commit any further offenses for one year.

Candia James, crown counsel in the case, had urged the court to record a conviction, noting the issue of deterrence to prevent the abuse of power that the police have. But despite her reasoned arguments, the magistrate decided to give the officers the benefit of the doubt, even though she indicated that she found elements of the case distasteful.

Etienne and Robinson were on desk duties after they were charged, and then suspended on full pay after they were found guilty. With no conviction recorded against them, despite the recent changes to the police law to deal with issues of criminal misconduct by police, the commissioner will not be able to dismiss the two officers.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (43)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry apparently they can now get a job at Customs. Half the recent graduates are former police. I am sure big promises of pay hikes there, where current custom officers should take note of these officers coming in at higher pay.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I suspect if I had over egged it and tasered the officers twice, I would be behind bars for a long time…go figure

    • Anonymous says:

      so long as you claim the new Cayman law defence of ‘it was a lapse of judgment’, you’ll be fine!!! I wonder if that defence also applies to using a gun…

      Most likely though the lapse of judgment defence only applies to Government workers / civil servants ….

      The whole thing stinks.

  3. Anonymous says:

    All that is needed is bigger tasers. One jab should do it, but Caymanians seem strangely resistant to staying down.

  4. Papa Doyle says:

    Unfortunately some of those who are responsible for this horrible hiring mess, have since move on to higher post in other branches and are trying to replicate and create the same terrible situation there.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Looney Toons here your easy answer He is a CAYMANIAN!

  6. Anonymous says:

    It’s easy for people to criticise these officers. I served as a Police Officer years ago in Cayman so I am definitely qualified to comment. The general public really don’t know what Officers have to put up with on a daily basis in order to keep you safe in your beds! The threat of violence, abuse and worse, possible death is no stranger to RCIP. We never knew that when we left our families at the start of each shift if we would ever return home again. If these culprits were law abiding citizens they would never have been subjected to any taser gun…………the real guns are out on the streets now and shootings on a daily basis!!

    • Anonymous says:

      You say you use to be a police officer that was when there was little to no crime but now there is crime and the police are some of the criminals if i break the law I should be punished but if they break the law they get a pass or a slap on the wrist a law breaker is a law breaker no matter who you are

      • Anonymous says:

        You are right, there wasn’t so much crime like there is today, or should I say, shootings. There was always crime, there were murders, huge amount of drug abuse too. You are also right in saying no one is above the law. However, we are all human and we all make mistakes. But that doesn’t mean we have a free hand in committing the atrocious crimes that Cayman face now and think these criminals can get away with it. Police have an extremely difficult job in trying to uphold the law whatever part of the world they are. It can be an extremely dangerous job. To arrive at a scene where a crime is being commited not knowing if these people are armed or so high on drugs they don’t know what they are doing. First law is to prevent the possibility of injury or death to the public and indeed to themselves by whatever means. You are so lucky you have these brave Officers protecting your Islands. Be thankful!! Maybe it wouldn’t be a bad idea now and again for the public to go out on patrol one night to see the abuse these officers have to deal with. I can assure you, you would have a different perspective on things then and not be so judgemental of RCIP.

    • Anonymous says:

      Oh shut up drama queen. You all are useless.

      • Anonymous says:

        Why don’t you join up then and start protecting your own island then we won’t need ex pats here. It was the lovely law abiding citizens like myself of the Cayman Islands that chose to remain under British Rule. You could have chosen to be independent like Jamaica. Leave RCIP to do their job that they are risking their lives on a daily basis to do. There’s not a week go by that some poor person has been shot by these “innocent law abiding citizens” as you seem to think they are.

    • Anonymous says:

      but there is a line and these guys crossed it

  7. Anonymous says:

    You really want to clean up the police force? Just have the cojones to implement a mandatory English language and grammar test before positions are granted. I guarantee you at least one of the two officers that got off would not have gotten on the force to begin with.

  8. Anonymous says:

    ‘Protect and Serve’ my A**… protect and serve their own interests is more like it. And you wonder why the general public has no respect for the RCIP or our judicial system. What a joke!

  9. Looney Toons says:

    Okay. Two cops guilty of blatant assault. No conviction recorded.

    One cop suspended (4yrs now) and convicted a traffic offense (for doing his job).

    Looney man, looney. Comedy channel does’nt have anything on this place. You can’t buy this stuff.

    DDP and the Judicial should compete with SLN on tv, money problems over.

    So for our next trick ——

    • Anonymous says:

      Exactly my thoughts. You can’t make this stuff up.

    • Veritas says:

      9.39am It’s not just the cops, what about the civil servants involved in hit and run cases?.

      • Anonymous says:

        100% spot on – no wonder Amnesia Courtney is confident about appealing, a pretty good precedent has been set.

        Aspinall should be appealing under the Makeeva defence … ‘but I paid it back’.

        And the dodgy chiropractor, Khan, should appeal his sentence on the basis it is disproportionate to the Cayman hospital surgeons that kill patients through gross negligence and walk away scot free

        everyone knows the three expat criminals got what they deserved, but as for local offenders of equivalent offences they seem to get away with it

        nevermind, at least the immigration laws are coherent, transparent and fair ….. lmao

  10. Anonymous says:

    So people, cops can breach accepted protocol; kick your ass anyway they like and get away with it. This judgement has taken a first step towards a totalitarian state.

  11. Anonymous says:

    The big takeaway for anyone following the judgements handed down from our magistrates is to: stay out of this arena. The outcomes seem more and more like a coin toss every day. The prospect of having to defend oneself in this arena should scare everyone sufficiently to stay in their lane and avoid any semblance of breaking any laws, lest you find yourself in there subject to these vagaries. I can’t think of anything more terrifying.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Victim of assault by Police Officers has the right to file a civil lawsuit.

  13. Anonymous says:

    “She said the men would be discharged from the crime provided they did not commit any further offenses for one year.” These guys are f**king police officers!!!! What a joke.

    • Anonymous says:

      It is a joke, indeed. Someone has to write a summary of the ridiculous judgments and publish a small book ” You can’t make this stuff up”

  14. Naya Boy says:

    Had theTaser stop this suspect’s heart i guess they would say these officers are here to reflect the divesity of this community. All this outcome says is Jamaicans in uniform can continue to physically abuse Caymanians and get away with it, because they would not have gottten away with it had it been certain nationality thats for sure.

  15. Sabotage says:

    I wonder if they had tasered little Reginald J Farnsworth III Esq would the outcome be the same.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians take note how some are taking care of their very own! Their justication and reasoning for hiring and bringing these functionally illiterate prone to violence police officers is no longer valid.

  17. Anonymous says:

    That is pathetic

  18. Anonymous says:

    When was the Police Law amended CNS?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Use whatever force is needed. Needs to happen more often. Obey or face the consequences.

  20. Anonymous says:

    This is a shocking decision and should be reviewed.

    These men were obliged to uphold the law and instead they assaulted a man for fun. They may well have lapsed in judgement (the same can be said for many eg Watson, Aspinall and Courtney and others in jail), but the consequences of the lapse resulted in injury to another – injury they both knew would occur when they fired their tasers. Their conduct went beyond a simple lapse of judgement – the conduct was criminal assault.

    The decision undermines my confidence in the judiciary to hold ALL members of this community to account for criminal behaviour. EVEN WORSE …. notwithstanding the gross misconduct and abuse of power, the lack of a conviction means the men cannot be sacked by the police.

    The streets will be safer without these half-witted hooligans policing them.

  21. Stachi says:

    Caymanians would have been sent to jail plain and simple!

    • Anonymous says:

      Is Austin Harris Caymanian? The same thing happened in his case. Found guilty of assaulting a woman and then no conviction recorded. This whole ‘no conviction recorded’ thing is disgraceful. These cops were found guilty

    • Jotnar says:

      Yeah, because we have seen how biased the court is against Caymanians when it comes to hit and run, right? Get over yourself. Not everything is about Caymanian versus expat. Sometimes the court reaches decisions we don’t understand or don’t agree with, but it may be poor judgement, it maybe that we don’t know the full facts, but it isn’t about their residency status. If it were you only see the verdicts going in one direction, and there are no shortage of acquittals and low sentences on both sides of the residency divide.

    • Anonymous says:

      As they should.

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