Gang killings not unusual in Cayman, argues lawyer

| 06/02/2018 | 37 Comments
Cayman News Service

Robert Macford Bush

(CNS): A defence attorney representing a West Bay man convicted of a gang-related killing in 2011 told the court that, as depressing as it was, there was nothing unusual about a gang-related murder with guns in Cayman. Guy Dilliway-Parry argued that a judge should not increase the 30-year life term recommended in the law when he considers the minimum term Brian Borden must serve for the fatal shooting of Robert Mackford Bush. He said the murder of Bush was as a result of an “all too familiar set of circumstances” relating to gang rivalry. 

As the court continues to hold hearings that will see all of those prisoners who were given mandatory life terms receive a minimum tariff  — the time they will serve before being considered for conditional release — Justice Alex Henderson heard the case of Borden on Tuesday, having presided over the trial without a jury. Borden appealed but that was rejected in November 2015 and he was refused leave to appeal to the privy council.

Henderson had found Borden guilty based on the evidence of Marlon Dillon, who became known as the crown’s supergrass after he gave evidence in a number of key trials. There was further corroborating circumstantial evidence, including allegations from another witness that Borden had stalked and made it clear he wanted to kill Bush for a considerable period and tried to recruit people to help him set Bush up.

Borden was convicted in August 2014 on the basis that he and a second man shot Bush while he sat in a car at the junction of Birch Tree Hill Road and Capt Joe and Osbert Road in West Bay in September 2011, when he was 24 and his victim was 28.

Allegations were made at trial that the second man was Keith Montague, but although he was arrested and questioned in the case, he was never charged in connection with the killing. Borden was believed to have a shotgun that he used to shoot Bush in the head and his accomplice was said to have had a 9-millimetre handgun, which was also fired at Bush’s head. Both shots were fatal wounds.

The motive was believed to be gang rivalry. Bush was said to be a member of the Logwoods gang but was going to Birch Tree Hill regularly as he was having a relationship with a woman who lived in the area. However, the woman had also been in a relationship in the past with Borden, described at the time as the leader of the Birch Tree Hill gang, who appeared to be locked in a jealousy fuelled feud with Bush.

The crown argued that the killing was an “utterly exceptional” case of planning and premeditation of a gang-related execution. Andrew Radcliff QC, who had also prosecuted the case, said Borden had previous convictions for violent offences that should be taken into consideration, including stabbing a man he was buying ganja from so hard the blade broke off and stuck in his chest. He also chopped another man in the head with a machete.

However, Dilliway-Parry argued that there was nothing exceptional about the killing. He said that gang-related shootings are the most common form of murder in Cayman. He said the 30-year life tariff was already stark and gave the court very little discretion. He said there was nothing exceptional about the planning, as there is an element of planning or premeditation in almost all murders, and his previous convictions were not relevant because they were isolated incidences and Borden claimed he was acting in self-defence.

He told the judge that there was nothing atypical about this murder, and as were no exceptional aggravating or mitigating factors in the case, the judge should stick to the recommended 30-year life tariff.

As “regrettable as it was”, Dilliway-Parry said, gang shootings were just not uncommon or exceptional and this was a familiar set of circumstances, where two young gang members were locked in a jealous dispute over a woman.

As in all of  these cases for those serving life, whatever term that the judge decides is not a release date. It will be the first opportunity that the former ‘lifers’ will have to go before the Conditional Release Board to be considered for potential release on licence. It will then be up to the board to determine if the prisoner in question is rehabilitated and no longer poses a danger to the community.

Justice Henderson adjourned the case until Friday, when he is expected to deliver his decision.

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Comments (37)

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  1. Beaumont Zodecloun says:

    None of us should ever contemplate labeling murder as normal, ordinary, or common. It’s a very slippery slope to think, “I’m not involved, let them kill themselves.” Gang activity and murder affects us all, affects our country, our children, our way of life.

    We must not rely upon the herding instinct and think that will make us safe.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Look out how he sorted the dump, the chronic underperformance of Cayman Airways, the Post Office, the inadequate teachers, not to mention his inadequate Ministers. You the electorate are responsible for the demise of the one and only Mark Archer who actually knew what he was doing.

    • Stop lowering the bar says:

      Dump sorted. Director of DEH no longer holdong up progress and over spending.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Are these murders really “gang” related? Everyone on the street, and no doubt RCIPS, knows that they always can be traced back to “dissing”, jealousy over girls, or theft of drugs or other property. These are more domestic crime than real “gang” crime!

  4. Anonymous says:

    So do we place less value on a life because we consider a crime “common”?

  5. Justice for All. says:

    Gang related murders ? No excuse.

  6. Anonymous says:

    WTF?? Gang related crime should get DOUBLE the penalty!!!! High penalties might be a deterrent…

  7. Anonymous says:

    Seriously? Trying to make cold blooded murder look like an every day normal event? Crackdown now and send a message that we cannot tolerate this any more.

    • Factsoveropinion says:

      Nothing in this article indicates the attorney is “trying to make cold blooded murder look like an everyday normal event”. He is arguing that, in the context of other gang related killings and/or murders motivated by romantic jealousy in Cayman, this one is not exceptional. Considering we used to send CAYMANIANS to sit on deathrow in Jamaica for these same crimes, some of us would be inclined to agree.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Just because gang killings are not exceptional or uncommon, does not make it right and nor should the legal system be lenient on such crimes. Personally, I am really tired or reading about murders, rapes, assaults, molestations and home invasions. If our legal system does not get tough, and I mean, really tough on violent crime, what hope is there for the rest of us peaceful and law-abiding citizens?

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe if we took our parenting seriously and had a zero tolerance to domestic violence, sexual assault, gbh we would have a chance. Mandate parents, especially the dysfunctional ones, to attend parenting classes and show evidence of change.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Needs to be a proper deterent for these losers. Pay the US to put them in a supermax and forget about them.

  10. Keep criminals in jail says:

    This sad but true. However a very voilent passed which his defence lawyer could not argue against. I will guess he will get 34-35 years.

  11. Tut alors!. says:

    At least someone is lifting up the carpet to see what by Cayman custom is so often swept under it. Gang related activity seems very common but we hear little about it.

  12. Anonymous says:

    To read this is really troubling for anyone who has any sense of right and wrong. The political leaders have sold the country out and remain in denial or know and do not care. The danger in Cayman is all too real as the family and friends of these people can attest .

    • Anonymous says:

      Sold us out to who? If you’re going to be sensationalist hyperbolic fear mongerer, at least back up your bs with facts and coherence.
      I assure you the only ppl that are troubled by this are ppl unfamiliar with the side effects (growing pains if you will) of population growth. More importantly, WE elect the politicians so ultimately the responsibility still falls on US to ensure we are electing EDUCATED individuals to implement policies that deal with the inevitabilities of growth.
      Until the education system in the territory has a serious overhaul we are going to continue to produce and elect inadequate officials who implement inadequate policy and then turn around and anonymously point fingers at them like we didn’t put them in that position.

      Shout outs to all the educators who are sincerely working to raise caymans intellectual bar. We need more of you.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Normalizing murder, thank you Jamaican culture.

    • Anonymous says:

      Took the words out of my mouth! Any murder, gang related or not, should carry a life sentence without chance of parol!

      • 8:19 says:

        The only just sentence for a murderer or a rapist is the death sentence if we had that law these things would cease.

        • Anonymous says:

          Just like they have in the United States, that well known murder and rape free jurisdiction. Erm…

          • Anonymous says:

            Dear erm, that is not much of an argument.

            • Fred the Piemaker says:

              So you are saying that pointing out countries that do have death sentences for murder and rape still have high levels of murder and rape is not relevant in responding to someone who says if only the death sentence was introduced here murder and rapes would cease? Sounds pretty relevant point to me, unless the OP wants to indicate why Cayman is different to all those other countries.

    • To the haters says:

      Murder is all around the world, just because you got jilted for a Jamaican you don’t need to keep on blaming them for your inadequacy.

      • Anonymous says:

        7.41, what relevance? Just got to get your bad ass attitude out there so everyone can see your lack of smarts? Need a parachute for when you fall off your high horse?

  14. Anonymous says:

    “However, Dilliway-Parry argued that there was nothing exceptional about the killing”
    Really??!! Tell that to the victim’s family.

    Every single life should be considered precious as we are all created in God’s image.

    • Criticalthinker says:

      What was unusual or atypical about this killing that makes it any different from all the other gang related killings in the history of cayman?

      Secondly, if your mythological god who is supposedly benevolent and omnipotent actually existed and we were truly made in that image, this article wouldn’t exist.

      • Anonymous says:

        If you are a thug it may be the usual gang killing, but normal people consider gang killings to be exceptional crimes. Justice should be hard on gang criminals not easy.

    • Anonymous says:

      You do realize the inherent contradiction in criticizing the suggestion that there was nothing unusual about the killing and then saying “every single life” should be considered in the same way?

  15. PD says:

    That is correct but our Premier will get it all sorted out.

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