Couple argue for exception in gun possession case

| 12/03/2023 | 20 Comments
Cayman Islands Law Courts, Cayman News Service
Law courts sign looking out over Heroes Square

(CNS): A local woman and her Jamaican boyfriend have argued that neither of them should be given the statutory mandatory minimum ten-year sentence for a loaded unlicensed gun found in their home. Sharis Alexandra Ford (28) and Kevan Maxhoward Smith (29) were arrested and charged following a police search triggered by a complaint that Smith had threatened another man. While they were both convicted over the gun, Smith was found not guilty of making threats.

The pistol was found in an oven draw in the couple’s apartment. Just a trace of DNA evidence linked the gun to Ford but a jury found both her and Smith guilty of the illegal possession of the weapon.

When they appeared in court Friday for a sentencing hearing, Ford’s defence attorney, Crister Brady, argued that she should not serve the mandatory minimum of ten years given what he said were exceptional circumstances.

He said the court could consider a time well short of the ten years because there were no witnesses placing her in possession of the gun and because she was charged as a co-defendant due to her relationship with Smith. Brady also asked the court to consider the social inquiry report about her personal circumstances, which he also argued were exceptional for the purposes of the law.

Smith’s attorney, Jonathon Hughes, also said the court should consider the exceptional circumstances of his client’s situation. He argued that this case was nothing more than a “momentary possession” and should lead to a much lower sentence, based on previous cases where judges handed down just 18-month terms where people had only fleeting contact with an illegal gun.

Neither defendants gave evidence during the trial but they had given prepared statements to the police. Smith claimed he had been attacked by three men and was in fear for his life. Ford said she knew nothing at all about the gun and that it was not there the last time she used the oven.

The court heard that Smith is responsible for four children, has no previous convictions and was a hardworking man of good character with his own construction business before he was arrested.

Justice Frank Williams said he will deliver his sentencing decision on 25 April.


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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (20)

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  1. ELVIS says:

    You just cant blatantly break Cayman laws and knowingly have an illegal firearm in your home then plead exceptional circumstances. if you have circumstances warranting a firearm then go apply for one. lock it in a safe like any other law abiding person.
    what a joke.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Four children? OK, but how many baby mama is he supporting?

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  3. Anonymous says:

    A wealthy American, who even violated his bail terms and illegally left the islands, was given just a fine after being found guilty of importing a weapon and ammo. He spent NOT one day in prison!
    There is justice for the rich, and justice for the poor; however, it seems that they may not be the same. We shall see.

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  4. Anonymous says:

    Caymanian girls must do better!

    The statutory mandatory minimum 10 year sentence is warranted here for BOTH this Caymanian girl and this Jamaican to set an example to all!

    Lock them both up!

    Look at the number of unsolved robberies locally.

    If this male was so called ‘threatened’ by (3) individuals on Cayman soil, why did he not call upon the RCIPS for assistance?

    All is a despicable lame excuse for this imported yard fowl to own a loaded gun!

    I don’t give a fudge if he has 100 children versus 1, this JAMAICAN needs to be punished according to the Law and DEPORTED as we don’t need his kind of male on our soil!

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  5. Mary Smith says:

    Who are they kidding?

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Cayman can either get tough with illegal gun possession, or live with the consequences.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Also it only takes a momentary action to kill someone with the gun. He should have thought about his 4 children when he took the gun to his home.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    the term “momentary Possession” has my sides splitting. It was hidden in your house dude…

    Next time a dealer gets pulled over I hope they say, but officer this meth is only in my momentary possession.

    Throw the book at them, our gun laws are not a secret, they had the option to do the right thing and hand it over to the authorities and even worse, they had kids in the house with a loaded fire arm stuffed in kitchen drawer the concept of personal responsibility is clearly anathema to these two.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    *oven drawer

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  9. Anonymous says:

    Should increase their sentences to 15 years for wasting the courts time again. It’s always “exceptional circumstances” when they get caught.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I agree. it is these exceptional circumstances that warrant going above the minimum. you were what? going to give the gun to someone else for a different crime? and lady.. is your attorney arguing that you don’t have possession of your couch when it is found in your apartment because no one saw you carrying out the store?

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  10. Jacklyn says:

    give him the full length of the law! it doesn’t matter how many kids he have and how good of a character he has.any person/persons found with illegal has no good intention!…send him back to Jamaica after his sentence is finish. he’ll be free to have one there….don’t let these people mash up Cayman with their criminal ways , and by the way this is coming from a Jamaican! sick of them in Jamaica and in Cayman..most of them shouldn’t even pass airport muchless hop on a plane😒

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Do the crime. Do the time.

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    • Mary says:

      Better doing community work no?
      Clean up all the litter by the roads
      Clean the beaches of all the plastic
      Cook food for the elderly
      Shop for the disabled
      Take people walking to lose weight
      Bag the food at supermarkets
      Do people’s’ gardens
      The time will pass very quickly. And they’ll learn not to do it again.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Community work is not a suitable punishment for gun possession.

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      • Anonymous says:

        I’ll expand on Mary’s thought @11.24 AM.

        Does it need to be either/or?

        I don’t believe so.
        Have them fulfill their complete prison term AND as part of their sentencing, also do community work- as a work gang.

        🥸😁👊🏽👮🏽‍♀️💂🏼‍♂️

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  12. Mumbichi says:

    If neither have an extensive police record, I think special circumstances should be considered.

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    • Anonymous says:

      No one should “paid a favour” to have a good police record. Everyone has a good record until they are caught doing something they shouldn’t have done.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Previous good character is not a special circumstance. Neither (see the case of Hyde) is hardship which would be suffered by the Defendant as a result of imprisonment for the mandatory term.

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    • Anonymous says:

      So – you get a free pass on your first conviction? Because even the hardened criminals don’t have a record until they are caught and convicted.

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