Brac burglars must pay compensation

Two of the three persons convicted of burglary in Cayman Brac must pay compensation totalling $16,000 as part of their sentence.

The three were dealt with last week Friday after Chief Justice Anthony Smellie found Dwayne Augustus Fredericks guilty in a trial by judge alone.

The two other convicted persons, Tex Cordell Foster and Jason Phelan McCoy, had pleaded guilty to their part in the burglary at the Market Place on the night of the National Heroes holiday in January 2005. They gave evidence for the Crown during Fredericks’ trial (Caymanian Compass, 19 January).

Foster did not have to pay compensation, the Chief Justice said, because it appeared that his portion of what was stolen had been recovered.

McCoy was ordered to pay $6,000 and Fredericks $10,000. They are to repay the money at the rate of $500 per month.

In addition, all three were placed on probation and ordered to perform community service.

In passing sentence, the Chief Justice spoke to each defendant separately after considering mitigation put forward by their attorneys.

Foster, 18, had worked at the burgled premises and in committing the offence had breached the trust of his employers, the Chief Justice said. Foster knew where the safe was, what was kept in it and how to gain access to the building.

Were it not for his young age at the time of the offence (17 years five months) and the fact that he had no previous convictions, the Chief Justice said he would have felt obliged to impose a prison term, notwithstanding Foster’s guilty plea and cooperation with police.

From details provided by Attorney Morris Garcia and a social inquiry report, it seemed that Foster had succumbed to a kind of peer pressure and wanted to prove himself to others, including Fredericks.

Community service

The Chief Justice said Foster had to understand that he must take responsibility for his own conduct.

The sentence imposed was 100 hours of community service under the supervision of his probation officer. Some of the service will be on Cayman Brac whenever he is over there and it can be arranged.

McCoy, 24, was ordered to do 150 hours of community service. Attorney Ben Tonner had submitted a letter from a relative of this defendant explaining his role in the family business and his assistance to a family member.

McCoy did have a previous conviction for which he had received a sentence of community service. He therefore had to understand that this was his final chance, the Chief Justice warned.

Because McCoy had blamed his involvement in the burglary on the consumption of too much alcohol that night, one condition of his probation is that he stay away from liquor licensed premises during the time of his community service. He might well be advised to stay away from them completely, the Chief Justice added.

He then dealt with Fredericks, noting that this defendant’s situation was even more difficult. At 28 he had a number of previous convictions, including burglary, theft and assault.

In the case before him, it was clear as day that Fredericks had been involved and had been influential in getting Foster to do what he did. Foster had been willing to admit his wrong and face the consequences, but not Fredericks, the Chief Justice continued.

Because of Fredericks’ behaviour and history, an immediate term of imprisonment could hardly be called excessive punishment. Luckily for him, however, there were still people who had hope for him and were willing to help him make something of his life.

Attorney John Furniss had submitted letters from persons willing to assist. The Chief Justice said this showed him that, despite Fredericks’ best efforts to show himself as some kind of bad man, other people still saw good in him. They were offering him employment and a home.

It was also noted that Fredericks had never received a community service before. His order was for 200 hours, with a condition that he stay away from liquor licensed premises. His service will be in Little Cayman Brac or Cayman Brac.

The Chief Justice expressed the view that, if possible, some of the community service should be given by all three to the church and that they be encouraged by the pastors to attend services and become members of the congregation.