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. Anonymous says:

    Utterly ridiculous. You can’t go around punching people, let along a police officer. Backward island.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    What does this Watler do? Other than being a cry-baby loser.




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  3. Anonymous says:

    It was obvious this young man was going to get into trouble from the time he was in Little League and his parents thought he could do not wrong.




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Jail sends a better message to the nation’s entitlement-fuelled jumped-up youth.




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  5. Anonymous says:

    The punishment is sending completely the wrong message, it was an outrageous assault on a police officer who should expect the law to stand on his side and support him. Instead we have sent the message that if you punch a police officer you will get 100 hours of community service which is nothing in comparison to the assault. The fact that he had a clean record it appears would mean this was just the first time he was caught and is probably not an upstanding member of the community.

    The police have difficult jobs with increasing crime on the island, on top of this every single officer now knows that the law does not support them whilst doing their job.

    This case should be reviewed




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  6. Anonymous says:

    We cant blame the crime on the Cops, they are doing their job. But if you do your job and you find out your boss(judges) is not appreciating your work and is giving you more work by giving these socio-paths a 2nd, 3rd, 4th pass, then we need to take a closer look at our judges. Anybody in CNS ready to write a good thourough piece on our judges and thier philosophies?




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  7. Anonymous says:

    Disgraceful result!! You should be ashamed of yourself. This officer could have looked the other way and passed by this accident. But as a servant of the public, which he is paid to do, he stopped to assist. This moron thought it was no business of RCIPS and acted like an animal!! In turn he suffered injuries as a result. Do not make incorrect statements that his injury was not the result of the assault but by the fall. The fall was CAUSED by the assault by this moron. If he didn’t punch him the officer wouldn’t have fallen.
    This is why Cayman has so much violence going on because these people are getting away literally with murder!! Dear God!!
    For example, Joe Bloggs is upstairs. A violent man is downstairs and shouts up to Joe. “I’ll come up there now and kill you.” Joe, terrified jumps out of the window and dies as a result. The violent man downstairs is charged with manslaughter even though he didn’t actually push him. The actual threat CAUSED Joe to jump. This is U.K. Law




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    • Anonymous says:

      Don’t rely on modern UK standards in this regard.
      Just this year a British judge let off a young woman scot-free after stabbing a man with a knife because she “is full of promise”.

      Just sayin..

      – Who




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      • Anonymous says:

        In Cayman, they are covering up the attempted murder of 2 U.S. and Canadien citizens by a caucasian woman with connections… the woman has committed repeated assaults, perjury, contempt of court, stalking and the cases have been quietly closed by the RCIPS and ignored by the Grand Court…




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      • Anonymous says:

        I do not think this police-assaulting miscreant could be compared to a genius medical student at Oxford.




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        • Anonymous says:

          You are essentially defending and supporting the mindset of both judges in these ridiculous verdicts.

          In any event, grabbing a knife and stabbing someone is a greater offence than a punch to the face – no matter how you twist it. Nevertheless, you are willing to gauge the respective seriousness according to the background and social standing of the criminal.

          I trust you are a judge in the English legal system. They need people like you on their team.

          – Who




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      • Anonymous says:

        Why do you need the UK to find examples…plenty of gooduns here…percentage wise for more than the UK…that chip on your shoulder must be getting real heavy, take the weight off, try chilling for a while.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Wholigan bringing up one specific case to condemn the entirety of “Modern UK standards in this regard”, I would say I’m surprised but you’ve never really been a compass for rational thought in my book
        Both here and in the UK there is a reason why Judges have discretion over sentencing, in this specific instance in Cayman although I do not agree with the sentence I am also not a judge and have my own personal biases.
        I certainly cannot take this one example and tear down the entire judicial institution’s legitimacy.
        Everyone from an outside perspective wants a tougher sentence when it is not their freedom on the line, or when they have never been in the position of facing incarceration previously and the people who actually do experience the fear of being locked away may be able to appreciate the leniency given by this official.
        Either way, there is a reasoning whether the public approves or not, if we start tearing down the judiciary then what use is it?
        Again, you don’t have to like the result, and you shouldn’t expect that this is some kind of standard, judge each case on it’s own merits (or lack thereof) and expect the court officials to do the same.
        Thankfully we do not vote to retain Judges or elect Prosecutors in Cayman, because the courts would be empty




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      • Always sayin but not actually saying anything says:

        And the judge who spared the oxford brat in question is currently under investigation .

        Just sayin

        Let’s see if it plays out the same here .

        Just sayin

        Talk about desperate to bite the hand the feeds you

        Just sayin

        Here what I am sayin




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      • Anonymous says:

        So once again, the answer is Cayman should take no responsibility for their stoopud actions? You are nothing. If not predictable.




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      • Anonymous says:

        as usual ‘who’ thinks two wrongs make a right….
        can you ever possibly just for one address the issue at hand….????.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    This decision cannot be correct in law. The idea that this thug did not knock out the police officer rather that it was hitting the ground that knocked him our is wrong as a matter of law. Hopefully the Attorney General will step in a appeal this decision.




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  9. Anonymous says:

    Why not issue some form of community service? Not as harsh as a jail term but at least recognition of wrong doing, something on record and the opportunity to do some good on this beautiful island to return it to a place we can all be proud of.




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  10. Anonymous says:

    Who’s the lawyer on the case? Should be handing out business cards…




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  11. Anonymous says:

    I am very concerned that such a lenient sentence for assaulting and causing injury to an on-duty uniformed officer who was attending the scene of an accident sends a very very bad message to the thugs among us. Such a lenient sentence is also inconsistent with the justified concerns of law abiding Caymanians and residents that no one in authority has any interest in bringing crime under control.




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  12. anonymous says:

    “everyone has their one unguarded moment” my ass, very appalling!
    Here is an officer, doing his job to protect & serve, being knocked unconscious to the ground. Then this young man is being given a slap on the wrist.

    Cayman Justice System!




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  13. Can't believe this Sh!t says:

    In my one “unguarded” moment today, I must say, if this is the same boy from Little League, then his attitude hasn’t changed much.




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  14. Anonymous says:

    What is our island coming to? Our judicial system needs to be reviewed when it allows upstarted youngsters to assault our hard working police officers and receive a slap on the hand instead of serving time in prison. I feel that our crown should appeal.
    100 hours of community service is an insult to the hard working RCIPS officers that protect and serve our island. What kind of example are we setting for our youth.




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  15. Anonymous says:

    Where are the charges for the illegal dog?




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  16. Anonymous says:

    And now we have judges ignoring tattooed young thugs with pit bulls disrespecting police and even assaulting them dangerously. Poor Cayman. We have really lost it.




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    • Anonymous says:

      More coming out of john gray in June too, blood bath down there again today ,parents and all. And bet ye never heard of the three that was arrested I may at Clifton for drugs that was bought right in there .ask me how I know.




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  17. Anonymous says:

    Another hard man who crumbles into tears at the first time he realises he’s really not that tough after all.
    This idiot is a coward who clearly believes that covering himself in ink and walking an illegal dog is in some way impressive to wider society. The cause of the fall was the punch, so why the hell aren’t these liberal minded lawyers slamming the prison door shut on a violent individual who thinks his opinions are above the law?
    I hope the police are watching out for this clown and make him pay.




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  18. Anonymous says:

    IMHO this sentence is no laughing matter. In fact it’s an utter disgrace, and the “learned” judge’s reasoning is wrong in law. The Crown should appeal it.

    Causation, dear. Never heard of it? Criminal law 101. This excuse for a baby gangsta hit a police officer acting in the course of his duty who was concussed as a direct result. That’s a hairsbreadth away from killing him or giving him permanent brain damage; arguably grievous bodily harm. And you let him off because he shed a few tears – the big cowardly baby with his silly manly tats and his silly manly doggy.

    This shames the bench. Weak, suggestible, wrong in law and sending out the wrong, wrong message. You realise that this child is likely now a legend among his peers? And laughing at your naivety too, I shouldn’t wonder.




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  19. Anonymous says:

    This wii teach others great respect for the law. Not




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  20. Anonymous says:

    What a loser.




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  21. Anonymous says:

    Had I been the judge, his ass would be in Northward for a long time. You cannot do that and walk away with community service! Hell no! That sends the wrong message. I hope the Crown appeals that sentence. I am totally appalled.




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    • Anonymous says:

      That’s why you are not a judge. Everyone is all of a sudden an expert in law. Why don’t you apply for a job as a judge?




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      • Anonymous says:

        Judges should reflect the views and attitudes of society, not go off on some namby-pamby frolic on a whim like this. I think the weight of opinion in these posts gives a better idea than usual of the views and attitudes of society on this issue.




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      • Anonymous says:

        How much does it cost?




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  22. Anonymous says:

    I cannot believe this verdict. Before appointing a judge we need to ensure that these former civil lawyers are properly trained.




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  23. Anonymous says:

    this guy should have got 3 plus years..no where else in the world would you get to punch a cop and get away with it. that’s the problem with Cayman. too soft. Too much disregard for the law which needs to be sorted out now as we are very close to a lawless society.




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  24. Castle says:

    Bet he wasnt crying while acting like a badman on cayman streets but when going to prison became a reality he starts crying like the real twinkie he is….Most of these guys are this way here in cayman, Sheltered by mom an dad, thats why they love an cant leave cayman because anyway else in the world it would be six foot not court house..Not negative folks, just the truth!!




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  25. Anonymous says:

    All facts considered, this outcome sends the wrong message to our young men.

    Good track record or not, a strong societal message must be relayed that we do not condone young men attacking our elders – especially those in uniform.

    He is lucky it wasn’t my father – thank goodness he’s no longer in uniform.

    – Who




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  26. Anonymous says:

    Street cred ruined! That pit bull can’t even help. hahaha




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  27. Anonymous says:

    Is he Seth Oniel Watler that was charged with common assault back in 2014? What happened with that case?




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  28. Anonymous says:

    Really? You can punch a police officer in the mouth, knock him out and not got to jail in Cayman? Who the heck is Justice Marlene Carter? I want her if I ever have to go to court. What a joke. This is more than ridiculous, this is disgusting. This is why crime is growing in Cayman. Again – who the heck is Justice Marlene Carter, she needs to be removed from the bench.




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    • Anonymous says:

      You are “scandalizing the judiciary “ bobo and in this crazy modern Cayman we have, it’s YOUR ass that’s more likely to go to Jail!




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  29. Anonymous says:

    The injury was a result of hitting the ground and not the punch. Just like it’s not the airline’s fault for killing the passenger in the plane crash because it’s the hitting of the ground that killed the passenger.




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    • Anonymous says:

      The cause of him hitting the ground was the punch. If you cannot see that then your priorities are all wrong.




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    • AnonAnon says:

      So lets just say hypothetically speaking had the officer receive the punch but managed to remain standing and retalliated throwing a couple blows himself before grabbing tbis dirt bag and throwing him to the ground and as a result he got knocked out would the officer be viewed the same and receive the same treatment.




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  30. Talking Sense says:

    This is disgusting. Where did this judge come from? Normal people don’t punch police officers who are just doing their job because of an “unguarded moment.” This is just the kind of pandering nonsense and slap-on-the-wrist “punishments” we can expect from our weak Cayman judges, who consistently bail drug addicted burglars who victimize the rest of us, and let punks with parents who’ve scoured the island for reference letters from rich friends get off with no jail time. Good God, what a joke. I feel sorry for the police. And everyone wants more enforcement on the road and whines about the speeding and drunk driving. Well look here, this cop was doing his job, tried to breathalyze a guy who was so wasted he ran his car off the road, and nearly got killed. And then there was the cop in December who got his teeth knocked out at a road block. And the guys who assaulted the cops both times were Caymanians. Can’t blame no one else. What a place. Couldn’t pay me enough to be a cop here.




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  31. Gordon Shumway says:

    What a pile of garbage. Such a horrible example to kids (and other adults) that if you disagree with the Police – you can assault them, put them in the hospital and leave them with long term injury…but if you can muster up a few tears in the court room, you won’t have to do any jail time – as long as this is only the first vicious assault on your rap sheet.

    UN-Freaking-Believable.

    I don’t know Mr. Watler, and he may very well have had a squeaky clean record prior to this incident…but if the Pope assaulted a police officer in this manner, even he should be locked up.

    Embarrassing. Sad. Wrong.




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    • AnonAnon says:

      And whats even more disturbing is he asked a police officer what the accident had to do with him. What a dumb @$$. Low on brain cells if u ask me. Arent police responsible for the up keep of the laws of the land.




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  32. william grubbs says:

    Only in Cayman, Punch a Police Officer in the face, cause a concussion, laceration to the lip, broken ribs, NO rib fractures are necessarily minor, these can actually life threatening if inflicted in an unfortunately location. This is more than aggravated battery and on a law enforcement officer. In US, and this adds up to more than a silly 10 months in a real jail, a felony and looking at a few years.

    XXXXX A judicial disgrace.




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  33. Anon says:

    I use to be a police officer and this is why I’m no longer . This judge is a disgrace. Whether a police officer or not can we just put the victim before the criminal for once . Judge Marlene Carter should hold her her head in shame ..clearly sitting in her ivory tower without a clue of what goes on in the real world. What an example for other criminal minded people. With judges like this cayman you are on a slippery slope.




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  34. anonymous says:

    seriously!!
    You can now assault cops (GBH) and no jail time!!!
    WTF!!
    The precedent has now been set to Hollywood acting and tears.
    This stupid to the highest level.




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  35. Unbelievable says:

    Surely the sentence is a joke!




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  36. Anonymous says:

    Unbelievable! He needs anger management. He will be back in Court in the not too distant future.




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  37. Anonymous says:

    Hey, lay off the dog. It’s a service dog. There’s a lot of similar pitbulls here in Cayman. Labradors are usually used for visually impaired people, but in Cayman we also use pitbulls to assist the terminally stupid.




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  38. Anonymous says:

    Disgraceful sentence. Sends out completely the wrong message.




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  39. Anonymous says:

    Is nothing sacred anymore? As posted above, the fall was a result of the punch! WTF is happening? Thug life seems normal and I guess next election they could become the ruling party or official opposition. sml.




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  40. Anonymous says:

    I thought the justice system was filled with expats who look down on Caymanians and throw us in jail at the first possible opportunity.

    I thought we were the victims

    I am a Caymanian! Where are my Rights? Right?

    Guess not




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  41. Anonymous says:

    See, this is why we can’t have nice stuff.




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  42. Anonymous says:

    I don’t understand this one bit. The judge says the injury was the result of the fall not the punch?!?! The only reason for the fall was the punch! Nonetheless, I hope he learned a lesson and isn’t playing the system. Ps- get rid of the pit bull. It doesn’t make you tough, just another fact that you want to be seen as tough.




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    • fu ahole says:

      you sound like a simple as whole though no need to be tough to have pittbulls fukin asshole can always talk shit on media but punks in real life.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Why exactly should he get rid of the pit bull? How exactly does having a pit bull make anyone look tough? That is a most ridiculous statement. I’m surprised you didn’t say get rid of the tattoos because they make you look like a thug. Just because this guy is posing in a picture with a pit bull does not make him a tough guy or a want to be tough guy. Save the judgement calls for an actual judge.




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    • Anonymous says:

      WTF does the dog have to do with this? Leave the poor pooch alone…




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      • Anonymous says:

        Yea, the pooch is far smarter and definitely better looking than that clown, and almost certainly smarter than his illiterate supporters.
        Tattoos are the mark of an idiot, why would anyone deliberately have needles and toxic inks pumped into their skin? Not really a rational or sensible action when first appearances count so much in human society.
        So yes, he does look like a thug with his playtime war paint and illegal pet, he proved his cowardice, lack of moral fibre and disrespect for law and order when he punched the officer. No judge needed there bobo.
        It probably won’t be long before we see his stupid face joining those other law breakers whose whining supporters plaster pathetic RIP platitudes on their crappy cars because both they and their ‘victim’ couldn’t live amongst others with dignity and respect, or guide them away from being terminally stupid.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Listen you stupid Dinosaur, no one is supporting Seth, just pointing out that everyone is attacking the dog like he did the punching. Get over your self-centered self, as there are people full of tattoos around the world that are more successful in life and carry themselves an a more respectable manner than you.

          All kinds of people do stupid things in life, far worst than getting tattoos. Drinking alcohol is far more harmful to your health than a tattoo, along with over eating and hundreds of other things people do on a daily basis. Maybe you should give back to Island and go walk some dogs at the humane society on your free time rather than being a keyboard warrior and picking on a dog that cannot defend it’s self.




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      • Anonymous says:

        8:31am. Those gods tell a different story. Time will tell.




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  43. Gt Voter says:

    As a bystander that was abruptly traumatised upon seeing Mr. Lansdown lay on the floor knocked unconscious, Seth is very lucky.

    His words were venomous, his subsequent actions and the disrespect for authority extremely egregious.

    I might not agree with the sentencing, but we can all hope that, going forward, he uses this situation to reflect on his unacceptable behaviour.




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    • Anonymous says:

      “As a bystander that[sic] was abruptly traumatised…” rofl…yes, this article really should have been more about you.




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    • Observer says:

      This is so sad that accused persons assault police and walk whilst the judge classify the assault as minor. This is ridiculous!!!




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  44. Anonymous says:

    Ha ha ha. You can punch cops in the face here. I can’t wait to get stopped! If he hits his head and dies, we’ll, it was just one little ole punch… sheesh.
    Oh, and I can have an illegal dog also. I love this place!!




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  45. Anonymous says:

    I disagree with this outcome.

    Considering all facts of the case (e.g. knocked out, injured, and hospitalized senior cop), I believe this decision sends a horribly wrong message to our young men.

    Very perplexing (suspended) sentence.

    – Who




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  46. Anonymous says:

    Wow we really don’t pay our police enough for this lack of support….probably would have been a harsher if sentence with a male judge.




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  47. Anonymous says:

    Anyone that assaults a Law Enforcement Officer in the execution of their duty should expect jail time, especially when it results in bodily harm. Suppose he had died from the fall would he have been given a slap on the wrist also?




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  48. Unison says:

    CNS: “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.”

    What?! Am I reading this correctly! This appears to be a miscarriage of Justice! What is Chief Justice Smellie’s take?! 😐




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  49. Anonymous says:

    Wow where do we get these judges from? The fact that it was the punch that caused the man to fall and receive serious injuries is enough to give him a harsh sentence. Are we now saying that it’s ok to throw a punch but what happens next is not the offenders problem. The decision to throw the punch is enough for anyone with a brain to understand that there may be consquences afterwards. This is why so many people do not worry about breaking the law! Good character or not, you don’t go around cussing at people and punching them after YOU messed up to begin with.




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    • Anonymous says:

      6.03pm good character?? Hello, time will prove what good character mean. Sometimes we fall over orselves.




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  50. Anonymous says:

    Assaulting a police officer is OK here if its your first time. And it was just one blow.
    And he was not an ex-pat. got it.




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