Teen acquitted of burglary-arson

| 12/07/2019 | 16 Comments
Cayman News Service
Cayman Islands courthouse, George Town

(CNS): A teenage boy was found not guilty on Friday of burglary and arson at a West Bay residence more than three years ago. Justice Roger Chapple, who heard the trial in Grand Court without a jury, said he could not be sure the youngster had actually stolen anything or set a bed on fire during a break-in on Watercourse Road. The teenager was just 13 years old when the incident happened but he was not connected to the crime until some two years later when his DNA was entered into the database and a match was made to the burglary.

The crown’s case against the teenager, who is now 16-years-old and cannot be named, was based purely on the DNA match that had been lifted from a bottle of juice at the scene of the burglary. Investigators believed it had been consumed by the culprits, since the homeowner was certain that the juice bottle had been in the fridge before she left her home that morning.

On 27 July 2016 the owner returned home to a ransacked house and a burning mattress in one of the bedrooms. The victim also discovered that some electronics and a jewellery box were missing. Police officers who responded to the report processed the scene and collected fingerprints and DNA, but they were unable to match the forensics to anyone until two years later.

After the teenager was arrested, he told police in a prepared statement that he could not remember what he was doing that day three years ago but he knew he hadn’t been involved in any burglary or burned any bed, and made no further comment. So, with no explanation for why his DNA would be on the neck of a bottle at the scene, he was charged.

But Justice Chapple said that this type of crime is rarely committed alone and generally committed by young offenders to impress each other. He said the wanton and gratuitous destruction, as well as the way that the premises had been entered, had all the hallmarks that suggested this teenager was not there alone.

As a result, the judge said he could not be sure the young man was responsible for the fire or the theft. Given the DNA evidence, he said he was sure the boy was present, even if he stood by and watched the crime unfold, but that was not enough to convict him of committing those crimes. Because he could not be certain of the circumstances or the teen’s intent, the judge found him not guilty.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (16)

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  1. None of una business! says:

    Half of you on here… smh… not getting the point! I’m sure this Judge knows what he is doing and he saw a good enough amount of nothing as to why he isnt being charged. And if he did enter the house without destroying anything he was 13yrs old at the time…. A MINOR if it were any of your kids u would hve wanted a clean slate. We are all human on my hand and we all make mistakes. If it was bad enough trust me he would have been charged. You guys are just typical caymans love to chat shit and don’t know nothing!!!! Just alil food for thought folks.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thank God the judge saw through this flimsy investigation.

    • Anonymous says:

      if his prints were IN the house. He broke in and entered. Period. Unless he’s been in that house before. So assuming he has not. He should at the very least be charged with breaking in and entering. This was a “i hope your reading in between the lines kid, you get a pass on this cause of your age, but i hope your smarter in the future”.

      • Anonymous says:

        2nd group reading between the lines are the DPP. Any future case like this there will probably be a ‘lesser’ charge tacked on as well like ‘participation in unlawful entry’, which can be proven by the DNA presence. Maybe can’t prove who started the fire, or who even did the break-in or who took the drink but if you walked in through the door your friend opened and took the drink he handed you then you participated in the unlawful entry.

        • Anonymous says:

          How do we know he was actually in the house? One of his mates could have shared the drink with him and the exculpatory DNA hasn’t been identified. It’s not so simple guys.

          • None of una business says:

            THANK U! atleast u have some common sense to this situation. EXACTLY why he wasnt chrged. The judge is educated and knows what he was doing. – END

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. WOW says:

    So WHY was his DNA there. He still has never explained that.
    Was it his house to be in? I only say this because from what I understand the bottle of juice was INSIDE the house.
    Why was his DNA finally entered into the system? Another burglary perhaps? Could be showing a pattern as most burglers have one.
    To allow him to go scotch free is nothing short of a misjustice because obviously HE WAS IN THE HOUSE ILLEGALLY.

    Inference can be drawn from his inability to explain himself…..

    CNS: The court can only decide guilt or innocence for the crimes a defendant is charged with. The judge cannot find him guilty of anything else. He was not charged with being inside the house illegally.

    • WOW Response says:

      CNS, while I understand that, to say that he, the Judge, does not believe the boy stole anything and he does not believe the boy set the fire is based on what?

      The DNA proved he WAS IN the house, correct? The boy never explained that.

      Inference can and should have been drawn from his inabilty to explain that. Its up to him, the accused, to say why his DNA was found at the crime scene and if he did not commit the theft and fire, then WHO DID, since the judge said that OBVIOUSLY he was not there alone.

      The law regarding negative inference says that unless you say something that will prove your innocence then your silence can be taken as to mean that you are guilty.

      He never explained anything. Period. And the worst part is that concrete evidence puts the boy there at the scene of the crime, at the time it occured.

      Ohhhhh wait…….. the DNA, it was planted there because the Police dont like him or Aliens put it there for an experiment…..HMMMM.

      Even those explain it……….

      I think maybe he has Famiky/Friends in high places who took care of the case for him, protection…….HMMMMM………Priveledge…… Definately……

      • George Towner says:

        Just say you want this Cayman boy behind bars! It looks like anything we say … you are determined to see him incarcerated.

        • Anonymous says:

          If he is guilty then yes! His dna was there ya dink! This is why cayman will continue to have problems, they are too soft on crime.

        • WOW 2 says:

          Hello. No if that’s all wanted I would have said just that. What I expect is people to fess up to what they did.

          For your Information I AM A CAYMANIAN. OLD STYLE CAYMANIAN TOO. So DONT EVEN TRY to play that game with me. You will lose.

          I was raised with the Tamarind Switch. Maybe if he had that then he would not have had his DNA there.

          Answer the question. WHY was his DNA there?

          • Anonymous says:

            Not up to the defendant to prove his innocence, up to the Prosecution to prove he is guilty.

            Can’t prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he is responsible (wholly or in-part for either the Burglary or Arson). There isn’t even proof he was in the house as DNA transference could have taken place at any point. EX: When the Juice Box was on the shelf in the store.

        • Anonymous says:

          guy has a point. At the very least should have been charged with break in and enter. Since odds are he has never been in that house before. DNA found IN house. Open and shut case.

          • Anonymous says:

            Or if he didn’t ransack the place or set fire to the mattress he should at least have been charged with accessory to a crime. He was there, DNA puts him in a house that is not his when a crime was committed and he did nothing to stop it nor tell anyone about it after. What’s the old saying? If you’re not part of the solution you’re part of the problem?

          • Anonymous says:

            Judge essentially said he could not be certain as to whether or not the teen committed the crime, as someone else could have been with him and did it.

            So, what if two persons DNA were present and both charged but neither admitted guilt?

            Would both be released because possibly a 3rd person could have been there as well? This logic makes no sense!!! How many people have to be present without admitting guilt before anyone is found guilty? What am I missing?

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