Employee not guilty of theft

A maintenance man with combinations to the company’s safes was found not guilty of stealing over $134,000 worth of diamonds.

The jury returned its unanimous verdict on Tuesday in the trial of Kevin Shawn Anderson, 33. Anderson, a Jamaican national, had been employed by Island Companies Limited for 11 years.

ICL has 26 retail stores on Grand Cayman, a majority of them selling jewellery in downtown George Town.

Anderson was accused of stealing the diamonds in January 2007 from a safe in the office of the company’s gemologist. The office is at ICL headquarters on North Sound Road.

Evidence included videotape from a security system camera showing Anderson in the office on two occasions.

On Saturday, 6 January, he was painting at one of the stores and went to the head office for supplies. There he saw an air conditioning unit leaking, so he went upstairs to turn it off. He then checked the rest of the building, he testified.

He found the door of the gemologist’s office unlocked and items of jewellery on the floor. He picked them up and put them back in the safe.

On Sunday, 28 January, he accompanied a pest control technician to various locations, including the head office. While there, he again discovered the door of the gemologist’s office unlocked and jewellery out of the safe, which was again unlocked. Again he returned the jewellery.

Anderson said a box fell out of the safe and paper packets came out of the box. He could tell the packets had something in them, but he did not open them. He put the packets back into the slots in the box and returned the box to the safe.

Questioned by Crown Counsel Nicole Petit, Anderson said he did think that leaving valuable things out was carelessness. Asked why he did not speak to the gemologist, he said he did not see him after the 28th. He said he did not tell anybody what had happened because part of his job was to secure things when he found them unsecured.

Mr. John Rea, managing director and an owner of ICL, said he had trusted Anderson implicitly. Until 2005, only two people in the organisation had the combination to all the safes in the stores and head office. When it was decided that a third person should have the combinations in case of emergency, Anderson was chosen.

Mr. Rea said Anderson had access to all the company properties except for restricted areas, which were understood by everyone. The gemologist’s office was a restricted area.

Howard Hamilton QC, instructed by Attorney Margeta Facey-Clarke, cross-examined Mr. Rea on this point. He asked what would happen if necessity arose for going into the gemologist’s office and nobody was available except Anderson.

Mr. Rea replied, ‘I would have expected him to call me to get access.’

He accepted that, when he looked at the videotape, he did not see Anderson put anything in his mouth or his pocket or anywhere on his person.

In summing up the prosecution’s case, Ms Petit pointed out that the videotape had shown Anderson moving between the safe and the window twice on 6 January. Anderson had told the jury that he looked out the window to check on the van he had left running because it was giving trouble.

‘We believe he was looking out the window to ensure that no one came upon him by surprise,’ Ms Petit said. On 28 January, Anderson was seen moving to the window again. ‘Is the van still not working?’ she asked.

In his address to the jury, Mr. Hamilton described the investigation of the incident as putrid and said police were lax. But he could understand why: They were shown the video of Anderson in the office and they were told he was not supposed to be there.

There had been no sign of a break-in and the investigating officer said this meant it was an inside job. That should mean that everybody is a suspect, Mr. Hamilton said.

Anderson had done none of the things one would expect of a thief: he did not wear gloves; he did not remove the videotape; he did not choose a time when an alarm went off and he could have said he found the place ransacked.

No diamonds were found in Anderson’s house or in the vehicle he was driving, Mr. Hamilton summarised.

In his instructions to jurors, Justice Alexander Henderson reminded them that three other people also had the combination to the safe. Before they could convict Anderson they had to be sure he stole the diamonds. The Crown had to make them feel sure of his guilt.

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