Woman sent to prison for witness tampering

| 14/05/2024 | 20 Comments
Courthouse in George Town

(CNS): A judge handed down what she described as “a short, sharp shock” to a woman found guilty of trying to prevent a friend from giving evidence against her in relation to an assault. Janelle Lavern Greenwood (48) ultimately pleaded guilty to stabbing her husband in the neck while drinking at home with friends one evening and was given a suspended sentence for that violent assault. However, she was sent to prison for eight months for her efforts to tamper with a witness.

Greenwood and Roger Patrick McLaughlin, who helped in the attempt to prevent the witnesses from testifying, were convicted of attempting to obstruct the course of justice and conspiracy to obstruct the course of justice following a trial in December last year.

Greenwood pleaded guilty to the assault charge on the morning the trial was due to start, so the witness had not, in the end, been required to testify in that case. However, McLaughlin and Greenwood stood trial on obstruction charges and the woman did testify about the intimidation in that trial.

Justice Marva McDonald-Bishop, who presided over the obstruction trial without a jury, said in her sentencing ruling on Friday that interfering with the justice system was extremely serious. As a result, she opted not to suspend the eight-month sentence she handed to Greenwood for that offence and sent her to jail. She told the woman that her suspended sentence for the assault would be for 18 months and would begin after she had served the sentence for obstruction.

As she sentenced Greenwood, Justice McDonald-Bishop said the charges were “very serious”, and despite the “catastrophic effect” on her and her family and the fact that she had no previous convictions, jail could not be avoided in the circumstances. The judge said she felt there was a need to deliver “a short, sharp shock”.

She also sentenced McLaughlin to six months. While she chose to suspend his jail time for two years because of his lesser involvement in the conspiracy, she ordered him to complete one hundred hours of community service during that time. The judge told McLaughlin, “You were so wrong… when you interfered in what did not concern you.”

The attempts to obstruct the course of justice happened over a few days before Greenwood was due to face trial last October for stabbing her husband with a broken bottle. Greenwood had been drinking at home with him and several friends when a drunken dispute broke out between her and another woman. When her husband broke up the fight, Greenwood got a broken bottle and stabbed him in the neck. He then drove himself to the police station, where they helped him and photographed the injury. He was then taken to the hospital, where the wound, which was not serious, was stitched.

Police found the broken bottle at the house. When the allegations were relayed to Greenwood, she told the officers that her husband abused her all the time, but the one time she had stood up for herself, he had gone to the police.

After admitting to the assault, Greenwood said she had no memory of the event because she was so intoxicated and had blacked out, an issue that the judge raised as she arrived at her two-year suspended sentence for the attack. Justice McDonald-Bishop said that the wounding “smacked of frustration and revenge”, but it was alcohol dependency that was the problem for Greenwood. The judge also said it was an isolated incident of violence, and Greenwood had no previous convictions of any kind.

But the court heard that after she was charged with the assault, she had called the woman who witnessed the attack on several occasions, suggesting that if she gave evidence, “she would not like it”, but the veiled threats failed. Greenwood then turned to pleading with her not to give evidence as they were both mothers, and she should think of the impact it would have on her family.

When neither the threats nor the emotional pleas deterred the witness, Greenwood asked her friend McLaughlin to pose as an attorney and tell the woman how to answer the questions in the trial. On the day before the trial, he went to the woman’s house three times, but she wouldn’t meet with him. He then told another person present at the house that if she gave evidence, her immigration status would be in trouble.

All of these efforts failed, and they were charged when the witness reported the intimidation attempts. They both denied the allegations and played down the idea that they made threats, but they were both found guilty.


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Category: Courts, Crime

Comments (20)

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  1. Kman says:

    I’m not at all surprised given that our laws are so lenient and having a Jamaican Judge presiding a case involving her own people tells the story. Crime and violence are now the norm in Cayman because we’ve imported too many Jamaicans, call me racist as I’m a 5th generation Caymanian, I don’t care. Start deporting them before its too late.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Little Kingston is here to stay

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  3. Anonymous says:

    im not voting for anyone who isn’t willing to half the Jamaican population in Cayman. Caymanians its really simple, ask you MP’s if they will deport/not renew half the Jamaican permit holders on this island. If not, vote for the one that will. In 15-20 yrs which aint all that long, jamaicans will have turned this island into what they call home. This has to stop now.

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  4. WBW Czar. says:

    The Woman in this case was and has been known to be a victim of domestic abuse. Perhaps a community / mental health order would be the most appropriate in this situation.

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  5. Anonymous says:

    Suspended sentence for stabbing somebody in the neck but 8 months for witness tampering. Sounds about right for Caymans judicial system.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Look at some of the sentences in the UK for bottling before chucking a rock – seen community service and suspended sentences of way less than 18 months.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Will she be deported once released? I certainly hope so following convictions for a violent assault and trying to pervert the course of justice.

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  7. Anonymous says:

    Too lenient.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I sure hope the husband has filed for divorce!

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  9. Anonymous says:

    And yet no deportation order? What is happening to Cayman is a freaking insanity. There is no way this animal passes the criterion to be allowed to remain here under our immigration laws and yet our robust protectors do nothing. It does not matter who she is married to. This is not an isolated case. The protection of our islands has ceased entirely. What the Actual F?

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  10. Anonymous says:

    I’m so confused. A suspended sentence for stabbing her husband and then 8 months for badgering a witness. So attempted murder is not as urgent as badgering the witness?

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    • Anonymous says:

      It’s not like she stabbed him in the neck or something.
      …oh, wait.

      Jamaican defendant, Jamaican judge. What more needs to be said?

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  11. Anonymous says:

    Finally. So many cases here Caym an of threats and inter fering with victims and witn esses, from strong arm assaults, to “Dennis the Menac e” repeate sex ass aults.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Better up your TV shows from “Dennis the Menac e” to some that can teach you how to communicate.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    Witness tampering is as common as dust in these islands. I am glad that the judge sent a message that hopefully will be received and heeded by our entire community.

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