Judge urged not to send ‘national treasure’ to jail

| 14/10/2019 | 61 Comments
Cayman News Service
Dexter Bodden

(CNS): A judge was urged by a defence attorney not to send local musician Dexter Bodden (61) to jail, when he appeared in court on Friday to face a charge of wounding. Nicholas Dixey described his client as a “national treasure” who brings enormous pleasure to people through his music. Bodden pleaded guilty earlier this year in a case of excessive self-defence, but Dixey argued there were exceptional circumstances that would allow the judge to suspend the jail time.

The judge heard that Bodden, also known as the ‘Calypso Cowboy’, had come back to his home in George Town late one December evening in 2016 after a gig at an East End resort.

Bodden parked his truck, which had his musical equipment inside, in his yard. He left the keys in the vehicle so he could listen to the news on the radio but fell asleep. He awoke in the early morning hours to a noise outside and found a person sitting in his truck in the driver’s seat, with the contents of his glove box strewn across the passenger seat.

Fearful of the intruder’s intent, Bodden picked up a machete and struck the would-be thief and dragged him from the car.

Pumped with adrenaline, fuelled by anger and fear, he struck the intruder several times with the machete. But coming to his senses and realising the man was injured, he called the emergency services and yelled to neighbours to come and help.

Prosecutors said the young man, who has a long rap sheet and is well known to the police, was badly hurt, having sustained several lacerations and broken legs. The crown said that Bodden’s assault went way beyond what was necessary to protect himself and his property. Bodden admitted as much himself, and even when being interviewed by police he accepted responsibility and showed genuine remorse.

But some time later Bodden, himself, became a victim after he was shot in his own yard in the exact spot the previous assault had taken place. He sustained a gunshot wound to his stomach and was near death as a result. But the singer-songwriter pulled through and was able to described the gunman to police and identified him as the man he had assaulted.

Although the young suspect was arrested and remains on police bail, neither he nor anyone else has ever been charged. When Bodden contacted the RCIPS to find out how that investigation was progressing, out of the blue he was charged with the assault.

His attorney said it was odd that they chose that moment to charge Bodden, as nothing had changed in the two years since the police arrested him on the night he had found the intruder in his truck.

Then, due to problems with Bodden’s defence counsel, which were not of his doing, the case dragged on through the courts. But once represented by Dixey, Bodden pleaded guilty to simple wounding, which the crown accepted. The lawyer argued that Bodden had never denied the assault and had taken responsibility for going too far.

But as a man of good character, supported by a number of glowing references submitted to the court, Dixey urged Justice Marlene Carter to suspend any custodial sentence she might impose, given the circumstances of the case, including his genuine remorse and acceptance of the charge.

Dixey said that not only had his client admitted he went too far and has even offered to help with the injured man’s medical bills, but also noted that if he had gone to trial with a local jury, he might have been acquitted on the grounds of self-defence.

Dixey said the support for Bodden in the community has been overwhelming, and while he was well aware that he had stepped over the legal definition of self-defence and that what he had done was wrong, the public would very likely not have seen it that way and a jury might have found him not guilty.

Instead of pushing the crown to prove its case, Bodden had done the right thing, Dixey said. He maintained it would be travesty of justice, especially in the light of Bodden’s own injuries, the delays in the case and his clear remorse, if such a productive member of society were to be jailed.

The judge adjourned the case until 25 October when she is expected to deliver her decision.


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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (61)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, if you’re on someone’s property stealing their shit, you deserve every lick you get.

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  2. MM says:

    Hold up one second….. sssoooo the guy that shot Bodden is on police bail??? As in, walking free on the streets right this second?

    You mean the guy described as having “a long rap sheet”, “being known to police” – who was stealing from Bodden (and God knows who else he burglarized) and who went back and shot this senior citizen because he got his @$$ wooped??

    THAT guy is on the streets???

    The one who obviously has access to guns, no respect for the elderly and no regard for the law…. he is where again? Walking free?

    Cayman has some serious problems and the root of them all is stupidity and ignorance.

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    • Jotnar says:

      Maybe because the only evidence that he was the shooter is a witness statement provided by the guy who attacked him with a machete. At best any defence lawyer would say he had a natural tendency to fear an assault by his victim and an understandable likelihood to assume it was him, at worst that when facing charges for the assault an allegation that the victim then victimized him gave him motive. He may have priors – but no suggestion that any of them involve firearms or violence, and prior convictions not admissible. Not saying he is the shooter – he would certainly have motive – but you are in no position to say he definitely is to a standard that would stand up in court and nor I suspect are the police.

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  3. Raffaelle says:

    This has nothing to do with police 407pm are you kidding me? This has everything to do with the police and how justice is dispense on this island and we see from this incident and other bias and glaringly unfair situations of late exactly how this overwhelmingly foreign police force not Service as they keep trying to make us beleive,are taking care business and of their very own in all aspects of their duties from crime right down to simple traffic matters. Yet this what they accused the police force of when it was staffed by a few token Caymanians even using the word Corruption to orchestrate and justify this take over yet we see large quantities drugs go missing from the police station serious criminal cases get thrown out, evidence go missing murders go unsolved murderers go free foreign defendants abscond on bail are but few blatant incidents on injustice. Yet we see recruitment drive after recruitment drive filled up with certain nationalities which should concern our political leadership into asking or raising issues with our governing power about this.Only silence we hear and see from them and yet we the Caymanian people now understand the new justice dynamic here in Cayman and when we speak out we are told or asked how much of the population in the local prison is Caymanian guarded by foreigners no less. If you want to change this Cayman you have to change your political leadership now! the dock referendum is and should be a good starting point to kick off from.

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    • Say it like it is says:

      8.27am I suppose you and your comments are completely free of bias. Surely the solution to your perceived problem is to eventually have a 100% Caymanian police force, but would that be free of bias in such a small community?

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Don’t worry though. One of the governmental elite just needs to be a victim of a crime and put in this same position. How quickly you will see them circumvent this “excessive defense” claim or there might be some amendment to a law somewhere.

    Its always amazing how the elite and those with the elite mentality, think they truly live in a different world. Behind gated communities with security (albeit security guards won’t truly do anything to protect you or save you, it serves as a deterrence) that the rest of us don’t have and telling us what we can or can’t do, should or shouldn’t have. It’s time to be realistic and its time for people to broaden their limited scope on life.

    People are NOT all nice and obedient to the laws of the land. Whether you want to blame that on economic circumstances, upbringing or whatever, we all need to accept that these things occur and understand the principles behind the right to defend yourself and your property.

    Sigh.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Good going Dexter. That punk will think twice

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  6. Mark says:

    If the “thief” was unarmed, will make all the difference here

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  7. Denise says:

    Far as I recall, the “noise” was the guy STARTING UP his truck to take it!!! This story needs more proper details

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  8. Anonymous says:

    “National Treasure?” smh

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  9. Anonymous says:

    If they lock him up RCIPS and the justice system will have handed these islands over to the bad guys.

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    • Anonymous says:

      We’re already there, white collar crime rules, privilege with it. And contrary to popular belief, the high level crimes such as money laundering via gold, real estate and exotic hard assets are going on under a multi-level veil of secrecy. As international regulatory screws tighten its only a matter of time before the dragnet forces this scourge out of existence.

  10. Anonymous says:

    It’s nothing to do with the Police. They don’t make the laws. They just have to abide by them.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    No offense but I’m stuck on the ” National treasure” title….that’s a bit much

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    • Anonymous says:

      Did you not read the article?? “National treasure” was from Nicholas Dixey his defense attorney…

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      I briefly struggled with the same. Taking nothing away from his music — he is perhaps a local musical icon. I elected to focus on the facts as presented to us, and I think the circumstances should allow for a easing of his sentencing.

      I can only hope I would be so lenient with a person should I be in the same position as he. I can’t tolerate a thief. Doesn’t mean they should be killed. Doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get an assin’.

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      • MM says:

        This guy is not simply “a thief” if he popped back around to the musician’s house with a gun to shoot him! And that is exactly how these so-called “young men” are these days, give them a slap and they pick up a gun. Sick little sh!ts

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      • Anonymous says:

        So lenient? He hit him repeatedly with a machete. Even broke his legs. You think at the time he was making a conscious decision not to kill him, just chop him up a little? First part of your comment completely contradicts the second.

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    • Anonymous says:

      He was good enough in Nashville for about 20 years.

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    • Anonymous says:

      3.19pm…you say you are stuck ??? Stay stuck! We love him and if we consider a National Treasure -,that’s our business!!!

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      • Anonymous says:

        As a Caymanian, (maybe it’s my generation) I have no idea who he is – at least not until this case. So yea, national treasure may just be a bit of a stretch.

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      • anon says:

        8.11pm If you flatten our major historic landmark in George Town with a bulldozer you are made a National Hero, if you almost kill someone who has not threatened you, you are as National Treasure. Undeniably that’s your business, but a very perverse one.

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      • Anonymous says:

        @ 8:11 pm They are only stating their opinion same as you and if you choose to think he is a “National Treasure” then so be it! Not everyone is going to agree with you so get a damn life. Freedom of speech people.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Its clear the government is telling me that I have no right to defend myself nor my property. We must simply sit back and let those who want to do harm/steal go about their business and we should place our trust in the police and justice system to do nothing for us.

    Gun control only keeps law abiding citizens from defending themselves. Those who mean to do harm will gain access to firearms regardless if its illegal or not.

    We need to stop placing the responsibility for our own protection in the hands of someone else, and the government needs to allow us to protect ourselves.

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Thank you Sir/Ma’am. I have been saying much the same for years. The criminal cowards will always be able to acquire guns. Everywhere. All around the world. Laws are for those who follow them.

      Guns are a bell we can’t unring. Should everybody be able to have them? Hell NO! A proper psychological/police vetting would be necessary, and what is the downside? A few home invaders get shot? I am fed up. The RCIPS cannot protect us because they can’t be everywhere. I personally think they do a stellar job of law enforcement. I would not go into the places they do for honour of job. Much respect.

      We should be able to protect ourselves, even if it is Capsicum spray cannisters with numbers registered to us individually.

      Somebody has a gun and wants my watch and wallet? Take it. No fuss. They come into my home and I will do my best to hurt them. Am I wrong to feel this way?

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    • Anonymous says:

      Whilst I have little sympathy for people who break into cars, saying this is equivalent to self defence is pushing it. The guy was in his pickup. He could have called the police just like he called the emergency services AFTER he half killed the guy. Instead he hauls the guy out and sets about him with a machete, to the point where he uses so much violence he breaks his legs. Then he calls the police.

      “Fearful of the intruders intent” – instead of running away or locking himself inside and calling the police, he actually gets to grips with the man. Fearful, right. “Fueled by anger and fear…”….well half of that statement is right. Hell, this isn’t even any where near reasonable amount of violence in self defence – no evidence the guy was armed or even attacked him, let alone him trying a civilian arrest. Even in “stand your ground ” Florida you wouldn’t be able to use actually going to assault someone inside a vehicle as self defence and reasonable use of force. A punishment beating with a machete for trying to steal his property.

      Call it what it is – lets not kid each other this is defence. Stealing property is wrong. It is punishable by a period of imprisonment after a trial where the accused’s guilt can be proven, not wielded out using a machete by angry people. Otherwise we are a step away from lynch mobs.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Enabler of a thief in your family?

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        • Anonymous says:

          No just following the basic legal principles that you cannot go around using potentially lethal amounts of force to protect property rather than life when you have the option of calling the police or using a lesser degree of violence. If you cross that line, where does it end?

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      • Anonymous says:

        I appreciate your perspective on this but I reflect on “National Treasure’s” (lol) situation and I try to put myself in the shoes of a victim. I agree with you that physically confronting a robber who is sitting in your car can be seen as no longer self defense, but I also understand what can lead to someone taking that action.

        I ask, does someone not have the right to defend their property? As someone who worked to earn my living and not step on anyone’s toes or inconvenience others, why do I have to cower in my house while someone breaks in? why should I sit down and watch someone steal my property that I worked for and patiently saved to buy? Why do I not have the right to defend myself or my property? Should I also sit by and wonder if they will hurt my family? Should I wait in my closet and hope they don’t go into my child’s room? The person has already broken the law by breaking in and entering, in the height of fear and anger it’s easy to wonder what else this person is willing to do. And if we go off of Dexter’s claim that the same man came back and shot him, it shows that the criminals also think we don’t have the right to defend ourselves or our property. We should sit back and let them do what they want, or else they come back for us to take ‘revenge’.

        We have different viewpoints, but I think he has a right to fight to keep what is his in this instance He already owns this truck, its his property and he has a right to keep it. The other individual is the one placing himself in a position where harm can be done by trespassing and showing intent to steal. His actions, while it can be viewed as excessive, is justified and I do not believe he should suffer jail time. It sends the wrong message to law abiding citizens and criminals, but that’s just my opinion.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Gun control also causes massacres.

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  13. Anonymous says:

    Genuine question. Can the police wait 2 years after arrest before charging someone? I thought they only had 6 months to do that. And in that vein, how can it possibly be fair that paying compensation to the man he attacked is part of the court’s consideration of Mr Bodden’s sentence, when the man he is required to pay compensation to the man under investigation (for 19 months!) for shooting him?? Shouldn’t that investigation be completed and the man either charged and tried, or cleared by the police, before deciding what compensation he should pay?

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  14. Anonymous says:

    Everyman has a right to defend his life and property. This is craziness!

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  15. Anonymous says:

    So Dexter gets shot and now robbed and HE’S the one threatened with jail time? the RCIP and Cayman courts have once again proven themselves to be the biggest waste of government funds in our country.

    We need a full and systematic reform of our police force and criminal justice system.

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    • Anonymous says:

      They don’t care about the robbers and gunman

      But tell them two 17 year olds are down in the bush smoking a spliff now and the heli will be hovering in 0.231 seconds.

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    • Anonymous says:

      You have the sequence wrong. He got robbed. Then someone tried to rob him again, and he attacked them with a machete. Then he got shot. The shooting – or fear of another one – played no role in him using a machete on the would be robber.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    Both of the cases should have been dealt with within 6 months. What is wrong with the prosecution to leave two gun crimes languishing? Is there any adult supervision over there at all?

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  17. Anonymous says:

    An expat would be jailed…

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  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m with Dexter Bodden! You want to try and steal from me? See what happens.

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    • BeaumontZodecloun says:

      Yes. This the the real bottom line for me with burglary and self-defence: Did I initiate the problem, or did someone else? Why is the onus upon the victim to determine how far the assailant intends to go? We don’t know their intentions, and shouldn’t have to guess. I believe those ARE mitigating circumstances. Obviously, killing an unarmed intruder is excessive, but is wounding and detaining them for the authorities? I don’t think so.

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      • Jotnar says:

        Well it may be many things but it sure isnt burglary – the thief didn’t enter Mr Bodden’s property which is the legal definition, and why penalties for burglary conviction are higher when the householder is home (because of the obvious psychological impact and risk of escalation). Nor is it self defence when Mr Bodden leaves his property to assault the thief when he was in no imminent danger and could have avoided the confrontation, nor any evidence that the robber attempted to fight him or was armed.

        I take the point on where the onus lies, but there has to be a reasonableness line. Agree if the guy is inside your house you don’t ask him to leave nicely, but when he is in the yard does it not seem a little more reasonable to lock the door and call the police then arm yourself and go out for a rammy – which may end badly for you quite apart from anything else?

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        • anon says:

          8.49pm I agree entirely. I bet if the roles were reversed and we had an expatriate seriously mutilating a local icon our commenters would be howling for a long jail sentence.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Well I tend to agree with you on most things but this I do not. if you’re in my yard you’re on my property and you obviously have some ulterior motive and I am going to react to protect my home and my family which means it may be a little excessive because adrenaline is a crazy thing. I’m not properly trained, I’m not a police officer, so I’m going to react the way that my body does in a fight or flight situation. I think this is what happened and he took it too far … but the guy didn’t die and hopefully he learned a damn lesson- get the XXXX off my property if you have no business being there.

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    • Anonymous says:

      “See what happens?” Easy answer, you’ll end up in prison too, probably right next to the person who tried robbing you

      This is not the US, their ‘self defense’ laws are not the norm in most of the world,
      In Cayman like most other countries you have the right to reasonably defend yourself, your family and your property, not the right to maim or murder anyone who enters your home
      That has always been the case

      You people are psychotic, you can defend yourself without trying to kill people, then again the people who think self defense = killing probably make up good portions of police in the US so I guess that isn’t entirely surprising

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      • BeaumontZodecloun says:

        It seems clear to me that you’ve never been in a self-defence situation. What if that were your mother in that situation? I think you should belay your agenda and think about people in real life situations, and imagine how they could/should react.

        A victim should never be required to precisely gauge the degree of violence on the mind of a criminal in the heat of the moment. Never. Ever.

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        • Anonymous says:

          I agree with you and I believe the issue is that people who feel Dexter is wrong here, have never experienced being a victim of a crime and/or don’t see this happening to them. They live in metaphorical gated communities in their head and feel they are safe and place the responsibility of their safety and the protection of their property with someone else (government/RCIPS).

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        • Anonymous says:

          NOT self defence situation. He was inside the house, the thief outside. He was in no immediate danger until he chose to go out and confront the guy. You are welcome to say explicitly that someone can go out of their way to assault people stealing their stuff, but stop it with the self defence BS.

      • Anonymous says:

        UK is not most of the world, no matter what they say.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yeah. Instead of calling the police and let them deal with it, you half kill me, then when I recover from it I come back and try kill you, only I have escalated to a firearm. Then at least one of us goes to jail.

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