Hinds gets 3½ years in Rankine murder

Possible sentence was life imprisonment

Jason Hinds, who pleaded guilty last year to being an accessory after the fact to the murder of Brian Rankine-Carter, was sentenced on Friday to three and a half years imprisonment.

Hinds received, transported and assisted William McLaughlin-Martinez in disposing of articles of clothing and weapons from the scene of the incident – a vacant lot along McField Lane in George Town – in the early hours of 17 May 2008.

Justice Alexander Henderson balanced Hinds’ assistance to Martinez with his assistance to authorities. He commented that, if Hinds had not assisted police, he probably would have been charged with murder – ‘I don’t say he would have been convicted.’

Hinds gave evidence when Martinez was tried for murder. It was impossible to say whether jurors accepted all or part of Hinds’ evidence, but they must have accepted at least part or they would not have convicted Martinez, the judge remarked.

Hinds, 27, was the driver of the vehicle the men were travelling in that night. After a dispute apparently over a purchase of drugs, Martinez attacked and killed Brian, the judge summarised. Martinez stabbed Brian 19 times, then got a machete and chopped him 27 times. During this time Hinds made two attempts to pull Martinez away, but his efforts were not as strong as they might have been. Then Hinds simply waited in the vehicle while Martinez completed his attack.

He could have driven away from the scene and attempted to get assistance for the victim but he did not, the judge pointed out. When Martinez directed Hinds to drive to locations where items were disposed of, Hinds waited in the vehicle instead of driving away to get help.

The maximum sentence for the offence in Cayman is life imprisonment, Crown Counsel Tanya Lobban advised. She also cited English authorities for similar offences in which sentences ranged from two to five and a half years.

Defence Attorney Ben Tonner set out six principles for the court to consider when sentencing an accessory: the seriousness of the primary offence; motivation; the amount of planning involved; the type of assistance; how significant it was to Martinez and the length of time of assistance.

Mr. Tonner said Hinds’ motivation was fear of Martinez and being in a state of shock at what was happening.

Justice Henderson said he considered six years to be the starting point for Hinds, with a reduction for his guilty plea and cooperation. Because Hinds is not Caymanian, he will be recommended for deportation after serving his sentence, the judge said.

Martinez, 32, was found guilty of murder on 20 July and given the mandatory sentence of life imprisonment.

He could have driven away from the scene and attempted to get assistance for the victim but he did not, the judge pointed out.