Ricketts’ second trial to start in October

Larry Prinston Ricketts will go on
trial for the adduction, rape and robbery of Estella Scott Roberts on 25
October.

Kirkland Henry is due to be sentenced
today (Monday, 8 March) for the abduction,
rape and robbery of Mrs. Scott-Roberts on the night of 10 October 2008.

All three offences carry a maximum
sentence of life imprisonment, Solicitor General Cheryll Richards said in Grand
Court on Friday.

Henry, 27, has already been sentenced
to imprisonment for life after being found guilty of Mrs. Scott-Roberts’ murder
the night the other offences occurred.

However, Defence Attorney Ben
Tonner has confirmed, an appeal against that conviction
was filed Friday afternoon.

Henry pleaded guilty to the three
charges before going on trial along with Ricketts for the murder. Both men were
found guilty of murder and given the mandatory life sentence (Caymanian Compass,
24 February).

The Crown’s case was that Ricketts
and Henry were engaged in a common enterprise to abduct and rob Mrs.
Scott-Roberts and ultimately to cause her death. They did so by intercepting
her as she got into her car, which was parked in a lot off West Bay Road, after
her birthday dinner with female friends. The men took her to an isolated area
of West Bay, where the offences occurred.  

Cayman law requires that no other offence
can be charged on an indictment for murder.

Ricketts pleaded not guilty to all
charges.  Ms Richards told the Chief Justice
she had discussed the matter with Defence Attorney Nicola Moore and they had
agreed on a trial expected to last for two weeks, starting on 25 October, for
abduction, rape and robbery.

 Chief Justice Anthony Smellie asked that Ms
Moore notify the Clerk of Court in writing as to mode of trial – whether
Ricketts wanted to be tried by a judge and jury or judge alone. The trial for
murder was by judge alone.

After Ricketts was escorted from
the dock and back to the cells, Ms Richards presented sentencing authorities for
the offences.

Cayman guidelines from 2002 set a
tariff of 10 to 12 years for typical cases of rape, but mitigating factors can
reduce the sentence while aggravating factors will increase it.

Ms Richards noted especially violence
used over and above what was required to commit the rape; use of a weapon; rape
was repeated; it was carefully planned; the victim
was subjected to further indignity or perversion; the effect on the victim.

In an offence of robbery,
aggravating factors include the hijacking of the victim’s
car and the presence of two or more offenders, which increased the victim’s fear and sense of helplessness, Ms Richards
said. Other factors included use of a weapon and the threat of additional
violence.

Mr. Tonner said he did not take
issue with any of the authorities or guidelines Ms Richards had cited. He
added, however, that primary reference should be to cases in Cayman.

Mr. Tonner reminded the court of
what he said were three mitigating features.

First was Henry’s early confession
to police in regard to all three crimes and his early pleas in court. Guilty
pleas are always viewed favourably and will usually result in a discount of
sentence, he noted.

Mr. Tonner also cited Henry’s
assistance in catching “the second man involved in these crimes”. He noted that
co-accused Ricketts had been due to leave the Island
in a number of days [because his work permit had expired]. However, thanks to Henry,
Ricketts was apprehended and brought to court.

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