Attorney cites previous good behaviour
Jeff Pandohie-Powell, 41, was sentenced last week to 18 months imprisonment, 10 months of which were suspended, after pleading guilty to two burglaries.
He also admitted drug consumption along with taking conch and lobster during closed season. For these offences, three-month terms of imprisonment were made to run concurrent with the burglary sentences.
Magistrate Nova Hall imposed all terms after hearing from Defence Attorney John Furniss that Pandohie had previously received a suspended sentence and had not breached it. He had found work and did not get into any problems.
‘He got back in problems when he came out of work. It’s the old story of idle hands,’ Mr. Furniss said.
He pointed out that both burglaries occurred during the time at unoccupied properties so it was not a case of people being disturbed in their home. Pandohie has a job to go to when released from custody, so he will not be idle, the attorney said.
Mr. Furniss asked the court to give credit for the guilty pleas because Pandohie had saved the court considerable time and the property owners did not have to be brought from overseas to give evidence in a trial, he concluded.
Crown Counsel Nicole Petit provided background to the charges. She explained that the first offence occurred in July 2008 in the Bodden Town area.
The owners of the property reside overseas but come to Cayman about twice per year. They and Pandohie were friends. They received a call from the person who services their pool; he said he saw a window smashed and a door opened. The owners told him to notify police.
The place had been ransacked. The refrigerator door was open and items were on the floor.
Two days later the man called the owners again. This time, he said, he saw the door open and blood inside the house. Police processed the scene.
When the owner arrived on island three weeks later, he identified missing items as a ceiling fan, tools and bottles of liquor.
In March 2009, police received a report on the DNA of the blood found in the house. It matched Pandohie’s.
He was interviewed and admitted that he had been riding his bicycle in the area when he heard glass breaking, but he continued riding. The next day he remembered what he had heard and stopped and went in. He cut himself on the broken glass. He said he called out to see if anyone was home but there was no response.
Pandohie initially pleaded not guilty to this charge of burglary because, he insisted, he did not take anything. However, he later agreed that, if he had seen something he considered worth stealing he would have taken it.
The second burglary was of another Bodden Town premises, also owned by a part-time resident, 16-17 March this year. This premises had closed circuit TV. Pandohie went there, opened a window and removed a variety of tools with a total value of over $500. He admitted the offence.
The marine park violations also occurred in Bodden Town last year. In May, a resident phoned the Department of Environment to report a man taking marine life. Officers arrived and found Pandohie with 10 lobster. When questioned he replied, ‘Come on, man, give me a break. I was just getting a couple for food.’
In July, officers observed Pandohie free-diving to pick up conch. He was found with a bucket with conch in it.
Mr. Furniss noted that the shells of the conch had not been broken, so they were returned to the sea.
Pandohie was also charged with possession of an unlicensed speargun, which Mr. Furniss explained was a hookstick.