Evidence leads to dismissal of conspiracy charge

The Jamaican national who was charged with conspiracy to affect an unlawful purpose has had the charge dismissed.

Donovan Carl Mattis Silburn, 34, first appeared in Summary Court on 18 April after arriving in Cayman earlier in the month.

On 21 June, Magistrate Nova Hall found that there was insufficient evidence to establish the charge against Silburn. She subsequently put her reasons in writing.

Attorney James Austin-Smith argued for the dismissal on behalf of the defendant.

Silburn, who is from Yallahs, St. Thomas, was alleged to have told police that he had been contacted by a man in New York via phone. The man told Silburn he had a job for him and said ‘a lot of shooting was taking place in Cayman and a man got shot.’

Silburn was to link up with a named woman in Cayman who would instruct him how to take care of things. His understanding was that the job was either robbery or murder or something against the law.

After receiving a ticket to travel to Cayman and US$500, Silburn arrived here and was met by the woman. It was inferred from evidence that the New York man made arrangements and others were involved in the purchase of the tickets and sending of the money.

Other reasons

Those other persons gave various reasons for their actions.

‘It was hardly surprising that none of them made any reference to any future robbery or murder or other unlawful activity,’ the magistrate wrote.

Crown Counsel Toyin Salako stressed that the charge had to be considered against the spate of shootings that had occurred in Cayman shortly before Silburn’s arrival. [There were four firearm incidents, including one fatality, between 28-30 March.]

The magistrate said that some of the witness statements in the Crown’s case had come from persons who had connections to persons who had recently been shot.

‘It was important, however, to ensure that suspicious persons and activities were not confused with actual evidence of a crime.’

The magistrate said it was clear from Silburn’s evidence that he had arrived here prepared to commit unlawful acts and he indicated that the New York man had facilitated this.

The Crown’s case was that once the New York man made the travel arrangements and put Silburn in touch with the woman in Cayman, the agreement or conspiracy was established.

The agreement

But what was the agreement? The magistrate asked.

‘The defendant’s stated understanding of that which he was required to do is not evidence that this was what another party agreed that he should so do,’ she said.

The man in New York had merely told Silburn he had a job for him to do. That statement was open to interpretation.

It would be naïve to think that the man wanted Silburn to play the role of peace maker between factions in Cayman, the magistrate commented. But he may have intended Silburn to act as bodyguard for someone. He may have intended for Silburn to threaten somebody or rob or kill. The choices were many and varied.

The Crown had conceded that, after the first conversation between Silburn and the New York man, there was a mere intention to form a conspiracy.

Silburn’s admissions showed a clear intention and willingness on his part to conspire and act in furtherance of that conspiracy, the magistrate concluded. However, the actions of others, while suspicious, were merely preparatory actions to put the defendant in place to form the conspiracy.

Silburn was recommended for deportation and has since left the Island, according to police.

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