Fireman found guilty in gun case

| 08/05/2017 | 24 Comments

(CNS): A local firefighter who was shot with a Taser gun by police because they believed he was armed with a 9mm handgun was found guilty Monday of possession of an imitation firearm with intent to resist arrest and remanded in custody. When officers went to the home of Fabian Oliver Thompson (34) in Bodden Town in January last year armed with a warrant in his father’s name relating to a drug investigation, they didn’t expect to be confronted by a man with a gun.

But when officers tried to search Thompson, a firefighter with the Cayman Islands Fire Service, he dodged out of their way. As he jumped over a fence surrounding the yard, officers saw what they believed was a real weapon in his hand.

During the trial last week, Justice Malcolm Swift, who presided over the case without a jury, heard that when officers spotted what they thought was a black 9mm handgun, they tasered Thompson. But as he was leaping over the fence at the time, he stumbled as the stun gun was fired and the probes were dislodged. Despite being shocked, Thompson was able to remove the wires then fled into the bushes.

While the officers involved were waiting for more police armed with rifles to arrive, Thompson got away as it was considered too dangerous to give chase immediately because he was believed to be armed. Although a search was conducted in the area once the armed officers arrived, the police never found the weapon nor was anything else incriminating found at the house in Kitty Lane where both Thompson and his father lived.

But with a warrant out for his arrest, Thompson, who has no previous convictions, gave himself up some three days later and told police he did not have a gun. At first the crown said there was insufficient evidence to prosecute him and he was released. But four months later the authorities changed their minds and Thompson was charged with possession of an imitation weapon with intent to resist arrest.

A year later the case came to the Grand Court for trial where numerous police officers testified that they saw Thompson with a gun. The court also watched the footage from the Taser-cam which shows Thompson holding what looks like a handgun and making his escape.

Thompson did not take the stand on his own behalf but the judge said he believed there was a case to answer, despite an attempt by his defence attorney to have the case thrown out for lack of evidence over the charge that Thompson had intended to resist arrest.

There is no such crime as possession of an imitation firearm without some kind of criminal intent. In this case, while the police believe they saw a real gun and the judge said he believed Thompson was fleeing for the very reason it was real, there was no proof that it was a lethal weapon because it was never recovered.

Delivering his verdict Monday, Justice Swift said he was satisfied that what Thompson had in his hand on the video was an imitation handgun based on the evidence from the police and what he was able to see in slow motion on the footage. Even though the warrant wasn’t in his name and the police had not gone to the house to arrest him, the judge said there was evidence that he did resist arrest.

He said Thompson’s attempts to evade the police, his refusal to stop, the removal of the probes from the Taser and his flight from the scene all showed that he was well aware the police were planning to arrest him and he did everything he could to avoid it

Thompson’s bail was revoked following the guilty verdict, as Justice Swift said that the defendant could expect a custodial sentence. Although he has no criminal record, the judge said that with his conviction the circumstances had changed as remanded him until sentencing on 1 June.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (24)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    This is so easy.
    Let me splain what I have read so far. I am sure you will correct me if I’m wrong so I’ll check back later today to see all the thumbing.

    The guy ran because he had a gun. He ran to get rid of the gun. They saw it but can’t find it now because that’s why he ran, to get rid of the real gun because if it was a toy gun he would have no need to run. Therefore in the absence of the actual real item they can only charge it as a toy gun because the eye witnesses saw a gun, real or not. But the reason they can’t find it is because it is a real gun. That he ran off to get rid of.
    Ammeye right?

  2. Anonymous says:

    heavy duty criminals seem to be targetting the young/youth only? ?

  3. Anonymous says:

    CNS why are you allowing comments on this case before sentencing??!! The court process is not complete! Why do you post coverage on some ongoing cases with comment section closed but allow comments on others under similar circumstances? Why the disparity? Are you waiting for someone to sue your pants off??!!

    Publish this!

    CNS: Our pants are quite safe, thank you, and I’m happy to publish your comment so that I can correct you. As we do in all cases — you can check back and see — the comment box is closed until the defendant has been found guilty or not guilty, either by a judge or jury or because he/she has pled guilty, or the case ends for any other reasons. To sum up in case you are still confused, the comment box is closed until there is a verdict and then it is open.

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    • Soiled Son says:

      CNS…I think Anonymous is still confused. Perhaps you may wish to explain it one more time, a bit slower and louder this time.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Check out his FB page – lots of pics with what I believe is the actual VERY REAL weapon are posted there IN HIS HAND. Case closed. Add 10 more years for not showing any signs of remorse.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We asked for greater accountability in the Civil Service and oh we got it. I have never seem so many Civil Servants being arrested convicted and dismissed. Plus my sources tell me that poor performers are resigning rather than getting fired.

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  5. Unison says:

    To me, it makes more sense that this was a real loaded weapon – not an imitation. The logic being: why would a man run from the police and say oh I better use this toy gun to protect me … That doesnt make any sense! 🙂

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  6. Unison says:

    Justice Swift, the justice system here needs to be more swift! :/

    Perpatrators lose the sense of judgement and seriousness of an offense when we by bails, remands, and inquiries … cause cases to prolonged!

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Another fireman about to be off the hook…is he guilty or innocent…

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  8. Anonymous says:

    The charge is imitation because they cannot say it was real. If he really had an imitation gin, do you not think he would have handed it over. Lucky he alive to face trial I would say.

  9. Anonymous says:

    And we wonder why a non Caymanian was brought in to head the fire service. Think about all the criminal cases we have seem involving so call fireman.

    They keep complaining of being disrespected but the majority of fire officers do nothing to earn my respect.

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  10. Crab Claw says:

    Amazing they can find the so call correct charges to get a conviction but when a gun is found in the car with two sleeping in it, the are laughing on the way out the door walking free, anything to destroy another Caymanians life, I call BS on this case.

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  11. Anon says:

    caymanians have it very hard in their country. Are you really going to be sentenced for an imitation gun? My six-year old has a toy gun made out of plastic which also looks like a gun purchased at Walmart. Maybe, we should consider banning all guys including toy guns that most kid loves to play with as ‘Policeman and badman’.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Look. The guy is lucky they didn’t shoot him. You should be happpy.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m pretty sure that’s why the law requires a criminal intent with an imitation gun, so that kids can play and would be thugs can be locked up, it all depends on the intent, not the actual thing.

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    • Fred says:

      Have it hard in their own country? Because he’s being discriminated against just because he’s Caymanian. Guy ran from police with a gun in his hand. Didn’t stop even when tasered. And you want to believe it was because he was desperate to hide a toy gun. Right. The only reason he’s being charged with possession of an imitation forearm is he managed to get away and hide it. And why do you think a grown man has a toy pistol anyway? He’s playing police and badman alright, and he ain’t the police.

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    • Unison says:

      Yes but … once any object is used for ill-will intentions to do harm or instill fear, it becomes an offensive weapon!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe read the second paragraph again as it doesn’t sound like he was just playing.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Why did he run from police? It is an offense to assist arrest. Stop encouraging people to dodge authority.

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    • Anonymous says:

      It wasn’t an imitation gun, it is just that is all they can charge him with because they never recovered the real gun that could now be in someone elses hands.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You’re a complete imbecile.

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    • ThIs WrItInG Is VeRy IrRiTaTiNg says:

      Only the ones who are up to no good have it hard which is how it should be in any civilised country. People who have nothing to hide do not run away from the police with a gun (toy or real) in their hand.

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