10 years for blinding police officer in one eye

| 20/09/2017 | 32 Comments

(CNS): Garfield Silburn Jr (21) has been handed a ten-year sentence for assaulting two police officers, one of whom suffered a detached retina and is now blind in one eye. The officer underwent eye surgery after the attack and is awaiting an operation that may restore his sight. Silburn pleaded guilty last month to the assault, which happened in Prospect last May as the officers were trying to arrest him regarding a burglary.

The two police officers, one male and one female, had responded to a call for assistance at a residence on Mangrove Avenue. When they got there, they approached Silburn, informed him of the allegations and attempted to handcuff him. At that point he pushed the male officer and they wound up grappling on the ground.

When the female officer tried to help, she was kicked in the stomach. During the course of the attack, Silburn stomped on the male officer, kicked him in the head and eventually started to choke him.

The defendant was finally stopped when the female officer hit him in the head with her handheld radio. While she sustained injuries as well, including to her hand and abdomen, they were not as serious as her partner’s.

At the sentencing hearing last week, defence attorney Christer Brady argued for reduced prison time, saying that while the defendant’s behaviour was “certainly serious and unacceptable”, his actions were in a bid to escape. Silburn “panicked at the prospect of returning to prison” but he had no intention to cause the serious injuries that he did, the lawyer said.

Brady noted that the officer was particularly vulnerable — he had a history of eye issues, including previous surgeries for retinal detachment — but pointed out that this was unknown to Silburn. He also noted that his client took responsibility at an early stage, and was surprised and remorseful at the extent of the officer’s injuries.

“Mr Silburn is not beyond redemption,” he said, and asked the court to “show as much mercy as you can”.

During the hearing Justice Charles Quin referred to the social inquiry report, which said that Silburn’s father was “nowhere to be seen” after the defendant was 6 years old, and while father and son did see each other in prison, they did not converse.

But when recounting the details of the case this week before announcing his sentence on the convictions for grievous bodily harm and actual bodily harm, Justice Quin pointed to the seriousness of the injuries to the officer in the course of a “sustained violent attack of an extreme nature”. He told the court that the gravity of the attack merited an upward adjustment of the sentence, and the fact that the assault was on police officers carrying out their duty was another aggravating factor.

He said the attack “strikes at the rule of law and should shock all law-abiding citizens of the Cayman Islands”, and that Silburn “ended up almost killing” the police officer.

The judge further noted that Silburn had twelve previous convictions, including for robbery, threats to kill and attempted rape, which also merited an upward adjustment.

After a one-third deduction for his guilty plea, the defendant was sentenced to ten years for the more serious charge and two years (reduced from three) for the second count. The terms will be served concurrently and Justice Quin said that consideration could be given for any time already spent in custody.

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Category: Courts, Crime, Police

Comments (32)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Such a misunderstood young man who showed tremendous promise as a youth. Why can’t we give these young Caymanian men a bly every now and then?

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    • Anonymous says:

      What exactly was so promising about young Garfield?

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    • Anon 2.0 says:

      Did you read his previous convictions? Theft, assault, attempted rape, threats to kill! How many ‘blys’ do you want to give someone who hasn’t demonstrated any remorse or efforts to clean himself up. This is a genuine selfishness and carelessness toward human life, the law and his countrymen.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Death Penalty!

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Rot in prison scum bag!

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  4. Anonymos says:

    should have been 20 years, double for law enforcement personnel

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  5. Caymanian excopper says:

    I think it’s time to really look at the equipment our officers have, batton, taser.
    Personally I think all officers should carry firearm. Times have changed on our little piece of paradise, our youth are way more violent and have no respect for their lives or others.
    As for the Silburn, only 10 yrs, man he should have got 20 plus, from reading the article, not only did he kick the officer in the head, he also strangled him, attempt murder, but of course our DDP would never do that, to hard.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Guns are never the answer

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      • Anonymous says:

        I dunno about you, but if someone has a gun pointed at me I would like to respond with a bigger gun.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Lol fool. And you never ever shot a water gun much less….surely you can NOT aim this bigger gun toy brains.

      • Richard Wadd says:

        Said by someone who has probably never been on the business end of a criminals firearm. Criminals have no problem getting guns illegal or not. When you have ‘gun control’ you deny most law abiding citizens the ability to defend themselves, their families and property and you end up like Jamaica, which has had one of the highest murder rates in the world consistently for more than 30 years.
        You get killed, and the ‘bleeding heart’ Judge gives him a slap on the wrist while you family has to suffer through the loss.

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      • See god ya says:

        Guns don’t kill people.

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        • Sunrise says:

          To 4:45

          Then what does? No guns, especially for the criminals. They are not trying to hide who they are, so do what I do, report them when you see them misbehaving. Let us not be afraid of these spineless punks, who need a firearm to feel like a man.

    • Anonymous says:

      No guns, this is not corrupt America, police killing unarmed people.

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  6. Mokes-for-all says:

    Whatever happened to policemen (and policewomen) carrying the good old-fashioned billy club? A smart rap with one of those behind the ear will turn anyone’s legs to jelly. If these have now been removed from standard-issue, then may I suggest to all coppers that they never stray far from a large maglite, filled with D-cell batteries – same effect when it comes into contact with the sweet spot.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Mag Lite is magic and when projected overhead is already in position to deliver ‘Respect’ to potential assailant. Found a tactical flashlight that while the same weight as a Mag Lite , is alloy cast in such a fashion as to be able to deliver Maximum respect , when applied to the afore-mentioned area behind a thugs ear.
      Finally, I am very sorry one of our officers had to endure this treatment in the execution of their assigned job, an atrocious attack. Magistrate though has final say in sentencing, so must respect it .

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  7. Anonymous says:

    If sentencing didn’t have to be done the way it is, this is the sort of person we could safely say should never live among us, regardless of why he is the way he is. The vast majority of us were raised well enough and work hard enough that we should have the absolute confidence we will never, ever even be in the same room as this sort of scum. If I met this man I would spit in his face if he wouldn’t kill me in a violent rage.

    Saw his father in prison but they never spoke. Not possible to rehabilitate that and there is no serious programme in Cayman that is or would even be trying. Thank you to Quin J for putting him away for as long as the law allows. Hope they put this guy wherever the most roaches are.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Was it really 10 years for the accidental grievous injury to officer(s), and zero time for the burglary? Is that the correct split that was delivered down from Quin’s bench – because if so, we have calculating murderers, that killed their victims “with intent” serving less time. It doesn’t make sense. I don’t necessarily disagree with the sentence, it’s just hard to understand how the justice system works in the Cayman Islands. Getting the sentence report wrong is confusing for everyone and dilutes the deterrent effect we all want these reports to have. It also makes it sound like our Grand Court judges are assigning subjective and random made-up sentences, which fans the flames of conspiracy, abuse of power, miscarriage of justice, and sentencing appeals. It also fuels contempt for “the law” and those that represent it which we really don’t need.

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  9. Veritas says:

    Maybe when responding to incidents of this type officers should be equipped with a taser and sending a female officer should be avoided.

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    • Sharkey says:

      The woman Officer was the only one that did him anything, why would you want to keep female Officers out . Some Lady Officers are better than some men when they are properly trained .

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  10. Sharkey says:

    Hit in the head with a hand held radio , in places where they have Police he would have been hit in the head with gun not a radio , their radio is only used for communications .
    But it sounds like the Police needs to have more tools to work with and more combat training .

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  11. Anonymous says:

    good riddance to bad rubbish

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Good! Hope he enjoys lunch time with all his pals Canover and Jefferson. Another homegrown thug off the streets! Congratulation to Justice Quin for bringing proper punishment back to the Island and ending the old immediate excuse or forgiveness that Caymanians have toward each other. We have moved on as a people and need serious consequences for crimes and injustices. Any votes for the guillotine, castration and caning?

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    • Anonymous says:

      What a pity you spoiled your post with the final sentence, 7:33am.

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      • Anonymous says:

        8:13am he should be put on parade and lashed in public. It is punks like him that is causing problems here. Riddance to him for awhile.

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    • Jotnar says:

      Think you need to reverse the order – caning after guillotine would be flogging a dead horse.

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      • Anonymous says:

        it wasn’t meant as to be in order……… simple bring them all back

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        • Anonymous says:

          Like father like son. I remember that name from many years ago, always giving trouble. I wonder if either one of them can be rehabilitated? Some persons are just past the line of no return. SAD.

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