Top court rejects criminal appeals

| 05/11/2018 | 17 Comments
Cayman News Service

Rear entrance to Cayman Islands courthouse

(CNS): Almost all of the criminal applications to overturn convictions and cut sentences that have come before the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal so far this session have been rejected, with no prisoners succeeding in their applications. On Monday the court rejected appeals on both convictions and sentences from two men serving lengthy jail terms over illegal gun possession, and also denied an appeal by a teenage robber with a lengthy rap sheet to cut his eight-year jail term after they upheld the judge’s decisions in the two cases. 

Jimmall Facey (18) was convicted 18 months ago of robbing a West Bay mini-mart twice in just over one month and had received an eight-year sentence. Local Attorney Keva Reid argued that the time was too long as her young client was just 16 years old when he committed the robberies.

She said she did not think the court had taken into account the mitigation in the case and the troubled family life the young man had experienced, falling into crime when he was just 13 years old, as a result of neglect, the failure of anyone to intervene and his mental health difficulties.

But the appeal court said it did not believe the sentence was excessive and the judge had pointed out that, given the seriousness of the offences and that they were committed while he was on bail on an electronic tag, if he had been an adult, he could have been facing 20 years in jail.

Taking age into consideration as well as the boy’s troubled upbringing, the judge had started with a 16-year term, which he cut in half. Reading the appeal panel’s ruling to uphold the eight-year sentence, Sir Alan Moses, said, “In our view the judge sympathetically and properly took into account the mitigation… It is not arguable to the contrary.”

Appeals to overturn the convictions of Watler Jordan McLaughlin and Keith Montaque for gun possession or reduce their jail terms failed. Both men were originally acquitted after a judge threw out the case against them in 2015. But the crown appealed the judge’s ruling and secured a retrial, which took place in March.

After that trial the jury found Montaque guilty of possessing a .38 revolver and a 9mm pistol, both of which were loaded, and McLaughlin of possessing the revolver. During a police search both guns were found under a bed at the house in North Side where McLaughlin lived with his father and where Montaque had been staying. The case was largely based on DNA matches to the men on the guns and that they were found under a bed on which Montaque had been sleeping.

Montaque was given a 15-year term for possession of two loaded guns and McLaughlin was given 12 years, but he was already serving time for another offence, which his lawyer said the judge did not consider when he handed down the lengthy term.

However, the appeal panel found the convictions were safe and that the sentences were not excessive and rejected the appeals. Montaque, who was unrepresented, had also argued that the appeal court was wrong to overturn the first trial judge’s decision to throw the case out, but he was told by the appeal court that they could not deal with that and he would need to take it to the Privy Council.

The court will continue hearing appeals this week, including those of Justin D’Angelo Ramoon and his brother, Osbourne Douglas, who are both serving life sentences for the murder Jason Powery in a gang-related shooting in George Town in 2015.

The brothers are currently incarcerated in the UK at Belmarsh prison, as they are considered national security risks by local law enforcement.

Douglas and Ramoon are expected to appear for their appeal via video link. The men have also filed applications for judicial review regarding their transfer, but so far the hearings in that matter have been behind closed doors.

Tags: ,

Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (17)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Them murderers should get death row!! Like back in the old caymanian days, you give life? So how you want take someone else life! Throw away the keyy in my books!

  2. David S says:

    Proof of lax immigration laws and no. Background checks.Too many marriages of convenience with no checks and balances.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    Since when does DNA prove posession?

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    • Anonymous says:

      It does help somewhat as it very strongly suggests that person handled it. And it was under his bed. Coincidence perhaps?

      I’ll tell you something though, I guarantee you won’t find a gun, under my bed, with my DNA on it, mainly because I’m not a scumbag.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    It appears that the appellate court has become somewhat more serious about crime over the past five years. It’s a little difficult to analyse due to the constant shuffling of borrowed, temporary and visiting judges. The appellate judges are for the most part completely unknown to the people.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Public money should not be available for these pointless appeals. Lawyers should be allowed to take criminal appeals on a no-win no-fee basis and then they would only pursue appeals with prospects of success. There would be far fewer appeals.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    A failed appeal should result in a mandatory additional 12 month sentence.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Cruel and unusual. This falls under both.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Neither. If the guilty try to get off then it shows that they have a lack of remorse for their criminality. But anyway, “cruel and inhuman” is an Americanism. It does not form part of Cayman law. the imposition of a higher sentence would not be incompatible with either the Bill of Rights in the Constitution or Arts 3 and 7 of the ECHR.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Sorry, not sorry.

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      • Anonymous says:

        So? Not relevant as a matter of Cayman law.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Good – most of these ‘appeals’ are a complete waste of court time and public money anyway. The only people who benefit from them are lawyers.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    Aaaaaw. Such a shame. Lol at these losers. You wanna act like big tough guys, if you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Deport them all!

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Cayman News Service