Teenage armed robber jailed for 7 years

| 25/07/2019 | 28 Comments
Cayman News Service
HMP Northward

(CNS): Tyrec Christopher Johnson (18) has been sent to prison for seven years, following his conviction for attempted armed robbery with an unlicensed firearm. As he delivered his ruling on Thursday, the judge acknowledged that the teenager, who was just 17 when he held up the Captain’s Bakery on the West Bay Road last summer at gunpoint, had endured a traumatic upbringing, but he could offer no therapeutic options. Johnson, who can now be named as he is classified as an adult offender, will serve his time at HMP Northward.

Justice Roger Chapple said he found no exceptional circumstances to depart from the mandatory minimum sentence of seven years for possession of an unlawful gun, after the teenager had admitted his crimes shortly after he was charged. Despite Johnson’s mental health problems caused by significant childhood trauma and violence, the judge said that, given the seriousness of the crime, there was no alternative to a jail term. He said anything else would lead the public to question what type of justice was being dispensed.

The teenager has been in and out of the criminal justice system since he was twelve years old, and social services has known that he was at risk since he was six. But with the closure of Eagle House, he will now spend the next seven years with adult offenders.

The social inquiry report noted that Johnson is at high risk of reoffending, and even his own lawyer agreed that he is likely to continue committing crime until his underlying problems are addressed. That will not be the case at HMP Northward, where the best the very troubled young man can be offered is an anger management course. She had also noted that the system continues to fail Johnson or address his long-term problems.

The judge said that at the age of 18, Johnson now had to take responsibility for his actions and he posed a risk to society. He asked Johnson to imagine how terrifying it must have been for the member of staff at the bakery as he looked down the barrel of the gun pointed at him before he was hit in the face.

Although when the police recovered the weapon shortly afterwards they found that it was not loaded, Justice Chapple pointed out that the member of staff did not know that.

The judge was sympathetic about the trauma and chaos that Johnson had faced growing up and the unpleasant and frustrating circumstances he had endured since getting caught up in the criminal justice system, but he said he struggled to understand how the young man had moved on to commit such violent crimes.

While he ruled out the possibility of finding an overseas facility to deal with Johnson’s challenges, he also noted that the mandatory minimum of seven years was a “substantial sentence for an 18 year old”. He therefore ran all other sentences concurrently. These were five years for the actual robbery and twelve months in relation to a separate violent incident that happened a week before the robbery, when he stabbed another teenage boy in the leg.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (28)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Not taken up for him, he got what he deserved, but its a disgrace how the rich Canadian got off free for having unlicensed gun and shells and didn’t pay duties on 2 million boat, its two different laws in Cayman, one for the rich and another for common folks, its a shame and discrimination .

    • Anonymous says:

      The “rich Canadian” didn’t walk into a retail business, point his gun at a terrified clerk on minimum wage then hit him with it in order to steal a few bucks. Big difference.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I can understand this except for the prior stabbing crime. Why on earth should the sentence for an entirely different incident run concurrently. This means there was no punishment at all for stabbing that boy. Judges in Cayman need to get serious about crime. It would do no harm to keep this guy locked up another year or two, and it would certainly help protect the rest of us.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Old enough to do the crime, old enough to serve the time.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Another Caymanian youth let down by the system.

  5. Hot says:

    Punk is a predator and a menace to society. Should be locked up until it is determined that he no longer poses a risk.

    • Anonymous says:

      The Judge said 7 years. Thank God you aren’t sentencing offenders.

      • HOT says:

        Judges make mistakes all the time Genius. I realize that at times they are restrained by sentencing guidelines, so I am not being critical of the judge. I also realize that English isn’t your first language, and/or that Reading Comprehension is a skill you obviously skipped. I would suggest that you focus on the fact that this individual has been in the criminal justice system since the age of 12 and is at high risk of reoffending. Let me translate for your Bobo: This type of individual would have no problem walking into your house with a gun, shoot your dog, smack you over the head (best case scenario) and rob you blind. Let me clarify it for you even further… Normally the severity of crime escalates with such individuals…in this case, he did not shoot the robbery victims…next time, he may just do that. Don’t know about you Genius, but I’d rather have him locked up a lot longer than allowing him to prowl the streets. Unrepentant criminals do not belong among civilized society.

  6. Johnny Rotten says:

    He”ll be a well trained criminal too after 7 years in HMP Northward. We need a “hard labour” Public Works Project for these young offenders. At least then they might come out with a skill, some semblance of respect, and get on track to becoming a worthwhile member of society again. What a waste….

  7. Anonymous says:

    Tyrec, keep your head up and mind clear. Don’t let this time get you down!

    • Anonymous says:

      Tyrec, use that time to try to reflect why you deserve what you got, be thankful you got off easy considering the crime you commited, and find way to make amends to the people you assaulted. Otherwise, you’ll be a sack of shit for the rest of your life.

      • BTC is KIng says:

        Nice to see you are thinking positively, however…very much unlikely that Tyrec is going to do any of that (maybe one in one hundred). More likely for him to be an even bigger criminal at the end of his sentence.

        • M Rac says:

          It should be our goal to have offenders successfully reintegrated into society. This may mean spending more money on them, but if this young man had been dealt with in a more proactive way from his primary school days – as should be done for the many students with social and behavioural issues – then a lot of what he is facing right now would have not transpired at all!

          • BTC is King says:

            Sorry, but I disagree. This kid was lost long time ago. Furthermore, little can be done by “outside” agencies when they come from completely dysfunctional backgrounds. In many cases, much of the damage has been done, and little is reversible…and certainly not at 17 or 18. Yes, you’ll be successful with maybe 1 in 100 at this age, but may as well throw the money into a fire pit for the rest of them. Many of these kids and adults are simply antisocial and a lost case; they’d rather be gangbanging with their pals than go to bed at 10 p.m. like a normal kid.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Isn’t minimum sentence for not guilty plea of possession of a firearm 10yrs or zero if you’re rich Canadian duty evading expat?

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