Two charged with affray, weapons

Two young men appeared in Summary Court on Thursday charged with possession of an offensive weapon and being involved in an affray on the night of 24 June.

Crown Counsel Andre Mon Desir told Magistrate Grace Donalds a fatality had taken place that night. He was referring to the death of Preston McLean, 31, of George Town (Caymanian Compass, 28 June).

The magistrate remanded David George Clare, 19, and Omar Robinson, 21, in custody until 14 July. She refused bail after hearing spirited submissions from Mr. Mon Desir and Defence Attorney Nicholas Dixey.

Mr. Mon Desir set out the particulars of the charges he was in a position to furnish, as follows.

On the night of 24 June the defendants along with other men went to a nightclub and had drinks. While in the nightclub, an altercation occurred between Robinson and another man, during which Robinson is alleged to have stabbed the other man in the leg.

That situation escalated from inside the nightclub to the parking lot of a nearby business establishment, where both Robinson and Clare were involved in an altercation/affray with other men.

The Crown alleges that each defendant had a weapon outside the nightclub and used it. Investigations are ongoing and the Crown objected to bail, Mr. Mon Desir said.

He noted that Robinson faces a charge of causing grievous bodily harm as a result of the incident inside the nightclub.

Bail entitlement

Mr. Dixey respectfully submitted that Cayman has one of the highest standards of rights to bail anywhere in the world. A person is entitled to bail, he emphasised, unless the court is satisfied that certain situations exist.

According to the Bail Law, Mr. Dixey summarised, the right to bail can only be set aside if the court is satisfied that the defendant would fail to surrender or would commit an offence or interfere with witnesses.

In this case, he said, the defendants are Caymanians with no previous convictions. Both reside in the Prospect area of George Town.

‘They have been in custody 10 days and are painfully aware of the consequences of failure to surrender. They are not a flight risk,’ he submitted.

There was no suggestion they would commit an offence while on bail and the defendants had told him they did not know the prosecution witnesses, Mr. Dixey advised the court. It was an incident that escalated – no suggestion it was feud or argument between friends.

While on the face of it, it would be a situation in which one would not expect them to get bail, Mr. Dixey concluded, when the law was applied the defendants did not fall within the criteria for withholding bail.

Objections detailed

It was against this backdrop that Mr. Mon Desir referred to the fatality on the night in question.

The incident took place between two rival groups, he said – the Bodden Towners and the George Towners – and in acrimonious circumstances.

He also pointed out that Robinson was awaiting sentence on a previous matter.

In her ruling, the magistrate referred to the bail law and the matters the court should take into account when considering entitlement to bail. These include the nature and seriousness of the offence; the character, antecedents, associates and community ties of the defendant.

Taking into account the nature and seriousness of the charges, the background as outlined and the fact that investigations were continuing, the court was not satisfied that conditions could be imposed to prevent the commission of other offences.

The magistrate pointed out that Robinson had already been on bail awaiting sentence.

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