BT man avoids jail after punching senior cop

| 13/12/2017 | 167 Comments
Cayman News Service

Seth Watler

(CNS): A local man from Bodden Town avoided jail time Wednesday, after a judge suspended the ten-month sentence he was given for assaulting a senior police officer at the scene of a traffic collision in October. Seth Watler (25) wept openly as Justice Marlene Carter said she was giving him a chance because of his previous good character and the remorse he had shown in the wake of an “unguarded moment”. Watler had punched Detective Superintendent Peter Lansdown once in the mouth but the senior officer fell over and was knocked out when he hit his head on the ground.

According to the agreed facts of the case, Watler was involved in a single-vehicle crash on the Esterley Tibbetts Highway, close to the Island Heritage Roundabout, at around 9:30pm on 14 October. He was accompanied by another man, who is facing separate but related charges.

Lansdown was in uniform at the time and on patrol in an unmarked police car. Seeing the collision, he pulled over to enquire about the crash. Watler then asked the officer what the crash had to do with him. Lansdown claimed he smelt alcohol and instructed Watler to take a breath-test. Watler reportedly told Lansdown to “f*** off”, while his passenger allegedly made threats to the senior cop.

Feeling at risk, Lansdown called for back-up and Police Constable Harris arrived at the scene. He was able to calm the men down and began going through the process of a breathalyzer test with Watler. But Watler suddenly declared, “I can’t take this sh**.” He then walked towards Lansdown and punched him.

The detective superintendent fell down, hit his head on the ground and was knocked out. Watler was arrested and Lansdown was taken to hospital, where he was treated for a split lip, a small rib fracture and head injuries. He was in hospital for three days and received several stitches.

Lansdown gave evidence at Watler’s sentence hearing, saying he remained in pain, was not sleeping properly and was still being treated for the mouth wound.

The breathalyzer test Watler was given on the night of the crash was negative. He was later charged with GBH but pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Justice Carter said the officer’s injuries were largely as a result of the fall rather than a direct result of the violence, and given that it was a single blow, she categorized the level of harm as the lowest. She weighed that with several mitigating factors and the aggravating point that Watler had punched a police officer while he was on duty on behalf of the public. 

She said his behaviour was “disrespectful, unjustified and showed a flagrant disregard” for Lansdown’s authority, but noted that the officer was expected to make a full recovery.

Balancing the issues, including the victim impact report, the findings in Watler’s social inquiry report and the significant number of character references from a wide cross-section of the community that he submitted, the judge handed him a 15-month term, before cutting it to ten months for his guilty plea.

She said that although the custody threshold had been crossed, she felt able to a suspend the jail term for two years. She also ordered Watler to attend an anger management course and undertake 100 hours of community service.

Justice Carter told Watler it was to his credit that he had never been involved in violence or offences like this before and he was not the type of person she would normally see in court. 

“Everyone has their one unguarded moment and this was yours,” the judge said, as she warned him that he could have been facing very serious charges and advised him to take the chance she had given him.

Tags: , ,

Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (167)

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  1. Shane e.connor says:

    SETH merry Christmas bad decisions do happens and you showed that by pleading guilty very quickly as it saves time and money nevertheless its the past move on in a positive way and Sky’s the limit for the new year and write the officer and apology to him and invite him out for a drink and he will accept it and remember people posts a lot of things all the time its called freedom of expression so accept it in a positive way .

  2. Anonymous says:

    I happebed to be driving by when this hapoened. Mr watler was swinging at other police officers aswell. Why is this not mentioned

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  3. Karl Perkins says:

    How can people have respect for the law when their is no respect in the law? When people paid to carryout the law turn up and try to abuse persons they are suppose to serve and protect and they get in trouble this unfortunately will be the outcome. Many making comments on here would change their tune if it was them put into this situation. This unfortunately is what happens with you import those who have little or no regard for those they are paid to police. Confrontation will lead to resistance and the court and judge understood justice must be fair. Respect is due even to dog.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Frightening to those of us who live here how many criminals are “men from Bodden Town”. It is very obviously connected to the fact that BT is Little Jamaica these days….full of them and they bring in their family from Jamaica as soon as they marry some worthless local and get Status.

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  5. Right ya so says:

    This wanna-be is a thug. Who hauls off and beats an officer in an “unguarded” moment – certainly not anyone decent – and then he cries in court?! You wanna live the gangsta life, then take your licks like the thug you want to be. Mark my words we’ll be seeing him back on the docket soon enough.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Correct me if I’m wrong….Does his last name has anything to do with it?

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  7. Anonymous says:

    So everyone who has never done anything wrong gets a chance now huh. Sounds good.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Can the public put in a vote of no confidence toward the Caymanian Justice system?

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  9. Anonymous says:

    So I am free to do anything I want as long as its my first time? Caymanian justice is more like the Pirate code every day. Moral people can not count on the police and the courts to be on their side much longer.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    if this had of been the states…the officer could have shot him with no further debate…

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  11. Annonymous says:

    One word – Lodge…

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    • Fred the Piemaker says:

      A female judge is a lodge member? Suspect not. No one pointing fingers at the police for not arresting, or the DPP for not prosecuting or screwing up the evidence. All down to the judge on the day.

      • Anonymous says:

        So the Cayman Lodges have no female members or wifes, or sisters? Dumb comment. Of course there are women members.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wooooooow make this had been a black man though.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Oh dear are you saying the black judge would have been harsher on a black defendant? Nothing to do with race. Get a life.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Is there any other country in the world you can punch a uniformed cop in the face, knock him out and walk free from court? What a joke. Can the crown appeal such a pathetic sentence?

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    • Anonymous says:

      If Cayman was a Country, then Cayman would be the answer to your question.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You can in many countries and not even go to court, but you wouldn’t be able to ‘walk’ from court… or anywhere in your life ever again.

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  14. Ghost Leaders says:

    I am a Caymanian over 60 years old and have lived in Cayman all my life. My parents never told me I had any entitlement to an “unguarded moment” that I could use as an excuse for what I did. I expect that Magistrate Marlene Carter is not a Caymanian and that she brought that concept with her. Well, she needs to keep it home and not take it to work with her; it doesn’t belong in Cayman.
    We grew up with a belt and switch keeping us in place when we needed it and far less problems than we have today. But someone brought us the idea that the belt and switch were cruel and the prison has been overcrowded for years since. Follow step bring what?
    But getting back to this appalling case, the real problem that we will see over the next few days and weeks is that Cayman has absolutely no leadership. Lady Governor isn’t going to open her mouth even though it was police office and a UK one at that; the Lord’s appointed Chief Justice who insisted that he and only he should be responsible for disciplining magistrates ain’t going to say nothing; the Premier and former Leader of the Opposition (Mr & Mr Premier since their marriage in May in spite of Tony Eden’s objections) ain’t gonna say nothing even though they must have given their blessing to the Chief Justice’s grab of power and amendment to the Constitution last year without a word being said to the public that they were considering it; and on and on and on.
    And the Seth Watlers of Cayman will have a merry Christmas with their likes while the rest of us wonder this Christmas “where did our Cayman go?”
    I’ll tell you where it went – it went with them votes you cast the past 20 years for Alden and McKeeva, and all those who support them in their selfish quests for personal fame, grandeur and whatever else they could get. Big harvest Cayman; reap it up!!

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  15. West bay Premier says:

    Crimes like this never be forgotten about, remember O J Simpson. But I have to agree that the judicial system and the Cayman Islands has gone to gangsters .

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Judge gave him credit for not being violent previously? What the…

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  17. Anonymous says:

    I want to know what he’s hiding behind his back in that photograph…..couldn’t be a……noooo, couldn’t be. Could it?

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  18. Anonymous says:

    Obviously it must have been some reason why he didn’t get jail time the officer could have approached the situation very ugly
    You do have some disgusting police men out there and that was the police unguarded moment as well give respect as it’s due! You guys sound so foolishly updated all of these negative comments when you have no idea what’s going on
    Chances are meant to be given if it was any of you freedom would be what you want the man has no convictions of any crime yet he’s a thug ? Think before you speak

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  19. Veritas says:

    This is the first time that all 58 comments on a news story have all come to the same conclusion. This speaks for itself and the DPP should insist on this sentence being reviewed so that the sentence is not suspended and the defendant imediately jailed.It always amazes me how locals no matter how serious their crimes will always find any number of fellow Caymanians willing to provide references attesting to their outstanding character. This begs the question are all these references genuine or are some “assisted” with monetary incentives.

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  20. Anonymous says:

    Special Handshake on that decision,

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  21. Anonymous says:

    This one is mind boggling!! Don’t the honorable judge realise that the one blow could have killed the officer.? Everybody on this island (probably including his family seeing that they are not even posting in his defense) agrees that the judge made a mistake on this ruling. Is she really a judge? The officer should bring a personal suit against him and at least force him to pay damages. This is a shame! Can’t believe he ran up his mouth so then cried like a little boy.

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  22. Rick says:

    GBH is a life imprisonment offence. The uniformed police officer had broken ribs, concussion, split lip requiring surgery, was knocked unconscious and was not even using any force on the accused when he was attacked.

    And this guy walked free without doing any time in prison?!?!

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    • Anonymous says:

      Here this is called justice. Plan accordingly. If your a police officer you are now without protection. If you are a violent criminal or wanna be the law is now on your side.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I’d grow eyes in the back of my head if I was that kid. I’m glad i’m not.

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  24. JAY says:

    “Seth” it & Forget it

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  25. "Anonymousir" says:

    AYO! I need this lawyer in my life …

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  26. West bay Premier says:

    He should be very happy that he had a good Lawyer and a bad Judge . But he should take this chance and let it be a big learning behavior lesson going forward in his life .

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  27. Common sense says:

    Disgusting, if this was a brown skinned Caymanian youth the verdict was different.
    Amazing what skin tone and family connections do for you in cayman. This is unfair to everyone who has been sentenced to hard time for this same crime

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    • Anonymous says:

      Hilarious. You all are ripping apart some black American woman for using the race card yet here you are… So first you hate every non Caymanian, and now you hate the light skinned ones. What joke.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I know you won’t care about the following findings however; in America (a stone’s throw away and country with a relatively similar history), research has shown darker skinned defendants regularly receive harsher sentences for the same offence committed by lighter-skinned counterparts – even when from the same racial group, much less different ones.

        It is a simple reflection of ingrained societal bias and is no laughing matter.
        Well, of course one can laugh at the situation as after all, we are by default, mass-produced units of our environment.

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        • Anonymous says:

          The joke is the name callers, and the hypocrites. So this guy is “light skinned” and being judged by you all, yet the “dark skinned” woman who just was found not guilty in a previous gun related case is being praised and given the ol’ “god loves you” speeches.Please. Where is is this guys chance at “learning a life lesson”, and “give him a chance to better himself’ ? Oh because he is “light skinned” you all want to see him rot and burn. Typical.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I always suspect “societal” and “research has shown”. They are deployed to make their ignorant user sound wise.

          Societal is a meaningless adjectivisation of an already suspect noun.

          What research? By whom? Name your material.

          Oh and to say the US’s history is “relatively similar” to ours is breathtakingly stupid.

          0/10. Must try harder.

          • Anonymous says:

            You’re employing a lot of effort to avoid any meaningful exploration of the issue at hand.
            You are clearly smart enough to manoeuvre around the matter yet so opposed to simply consider.
            I trust you are enjoying the relatively easy life your privileges have afforded you.

    • He says:

      White man world

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