Lawyer: HMP Northward a ‘scary place right now’

| 25/11/2021 | 16 Comments
RCIPS van outside courthouse

(CNS): A defence attorney told a judge that HMP Northward is a “scary place right now”, given the pandemic, which is spreading through the prison and raising tensions among inmates, who are barely permitted to leave their cells, not allowed visitors and unable to take part in any of the usual activities, such as going to church or working. Jonathon Hughes is representing a young man with mental health challenges who has been convicted of two serious violent offences and is currently on remand.

He asked Justice Roger Chapple to consider the circumstances at the jail as well as the crimes when he deliberates on the sentencing for Ivan Malik McField (20).

McField is facing two different convictions after pleading guilty to two separate violent offences, the second of which was committed when he was on bail and wearing an electronic tag in relation to the first offence.

The young man, who has a number of psychiatric issues and is plagued by childhood trauma, is facing a conviction of wounding in relation to a stabbing outside a liquor store in George Town last summer, and possession of an unlicensed firearm with intent after a pistol whipping fight with another man outside Welly’s Cool Spot in April.

On Wednesday the court heard details of the second crime from the crown, as details of the stabbing incident had been aired in court several months ago. The judge was told by the defence about the difficulties McField had growing up, and how his efforts to turn his life around had gone wrong when he was no longer taking medication for his psychiatric conditions, which lead him to outbursts of impulsive violence.

Hughes said that McField has been ill with COVID-19 during his stay in prison. He has also been enduring the worrying conditions since the community outbreak reached the crowded men’s jail, where managing the pandemic has proved very difficult and has exacerbated the already poor living conditions.

The judge was shown detailed and clear video footage of McField fighting with Patrick Williams outside the George Town bar in the evening of 11 April, when it was still light. Both men were armed with guns but did not use them to shoot each other, but were instead “bashing each other over the heads” with them, Hughes said.

Neither man fired either of the weapons during the altercation, which lasted for several seconds and involved multiple people trying to pull them apart, despite the presence of what may have been loaded handguns. But neither of the guns have been recovered, which is reflected in the charge of possessing an imitation gun rather than the real thing.

The court heard that both the fights in which McField had found himself were related to a girl. Hughes also said that he could not say why his client had the weapon but that both he and Williams, who is facing charges for the same offence but has only recently pleaded guilty, grew up in a deprived area of George Town, where violence was the norm and where access to guns is commonplace.

Given the various elements of the case, Justice Roger Chapple said he needed time to consider the appropriate sentence and treatment for McField and said he would deliver his sentence early next month.

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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (16)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    To paraphrase the opening sentence of the article – An anonymous commentator told a judge that George Town is a “scary place right now”, given the hooligans stabbing and pistol-whipping people and raising tensions among citizens, who are barely confident to leave their homes, not encouraged to meet new people and unable to take part in any of the usual activities, such as working at or patronising places like Welly’s for fear of being attacked … by people like the accused who apparently should be in secure remand for his and the community’s safety regardless of his chance of catching COVID which could happen to him outside of Northward as well.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Was he expecting the Ritz with unlimited drinks and nibbles by the pool?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Streets of Cayman a safer place when those with psychiatric disorders resulting in violent outbursts who don’t take their medication and carry guns and knives are in Northward.

  4. J|) says:

    “prison is scary”

    As it should be..?

  5. Anonymous says:

    Never Ever have I Ever heard Northward a bad place.

  6. Unhappy Caymanian says:

    As usual Mental Health penalized in this third world country.

    Im not condoning violence or criminality but you just have to compare how this would be handled in the UK-with a n understanding of Mental Health, A custodial sentence is absolutely wrong.

    Controlled medical intervention and support is required to help-yes Caynan actually help a soul. Actually demonstrate empathy and concern.

    It’s easy to judge.

    Very difficult to understand.

    I forgot in this third world country :let’s have a bit of old testament vengence. Bring out the caveman in me that’ll make me feel good about my own rubbish life.

    Cayman disgusts me.

    • Anonymous says: says:

      Excuse me you know how many inmates in those prisons has mental challenges sad more than the minority sad again stop sentencing people with mental health. This island and the prison should be ashamed.

      • Heads in the sand says:

        Whilst I somewhat agree with you, Cayman does not currently have segregated facilities fit for care of high risk mental health patients. And to add has swept mental illness under the rug like dust equally for as many years as Mt. Trashmore has been in existence.

        The general feeling about mental illness in Cayman before Dr. Lockhart, whom I would nominate for Sainthood, showed up was nothing short of Victorian.

        Many in Cayman don’t realise that visitation to a facility where people are housed whether it be the Pines or Northwood in the thick of a wave of pandemic is asking for trouble. This goes without saying that all staff at the prison and Pines and other parties that make required visits for supplies delivery maintenance etc. absolutely need to be vaccinated, which they are not.

  7. Anonymous says:

    Prison is supposed to be scary.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Cry us a freaking river

  9. Anonymous says:

    Life is all about choices and consequences.
    • Make good choices and conditions at Northward won’t even affect you.
    • If you’re already at Northward, make the choice to get vaccinated and Covid is less likely to affect you.

  10. Anonymous says:

    not surprised….civil service messed uo again with regards keeping covid out of prison….the easiest job in the world.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Mandatory vaccinations for all prison staff and prisoners.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Life is full of choices.

  13. Anonymous says:

    You grow up in a ‘deprived area’ of George Town, so it’s ok to carry a gun pistol whip someone with it? Nah bobo.

    And by the way, go to Haiti and try and tell people there how allegedly’deprived’ any area of George Town is.

  14. Elvis says:

    Northward prison is probably the safest place on island right now in relation to covid.
    Staff are tested daily before entry.
    They have 3 cases, all showing no symptoms at all.
    The director has worked tirelessly on reducing the roll down to 175 from210.
    The inmates were tested and tested again due to awesome work from our nurses, HSA and managers, supervisors and all officers.
    Give it a rest mate.

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