Parents must pay for son’s absconding

Magistrate orders ‘move against home’ of parents

The parents of Stephen Whittaker,
who is charged with attempting to export cocaine, have been ordered to produce
$50,000 after the defendant once again failed to appear in Summary Court to
face the charges.

Previously, Whittaker’s parents
were granted an extension, after Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale received
information about Whittaker’s whereabouts on 14 July from two other defendants
facing charges in separate matters. However, on Tuesday, 26 October, the
magistrate ordered the Crown to “move against the home” of the defendant’s
parents.

“Duties of a surety are clear and
attendance should be ensured or the bond is lost. I am not the one to blame for
this, but rather the parents for not producing their son,” she said before
handing down her order, which also includes the pursuit of extradition
proceedings against Whittaker, who is thought to be in Jamaica.

Earlier in the Summary Court
session, Defence Attorney John Furniss said he had had some contact with the
defendant, who was sending mixed signals.

Whittaker’s parents signed a bail
bond in December 2006 after he was charged in connection with nearly 14 ounces
of cocaine. He did not appear for his subsequent trial. 

On 19 August, Mr. Furniss, with
Whittaker’s parents sitting in court, said Whittaker had been with Aaron
Solomon, David Alexander Rocket and one other man, and all four had been arrested
for illegal entry to Jamaica.

On 18 August, Solomon, who appeared
from custody though his name was not on the court list, told the court he had
returned to Cayman from Jamaica. He said he had been in jail in Jamaica but not
for drugs. He explained that constructing work had slowed down and as a result
he turned to fishing, but when the boat he was on broke down, it drifted to
Jamaica.

At the time, the sitting magistrate
expressed surprise that Whittaker’s parents had not even known that he was on a
boat, given the amount of the bail bond that was set.

On Tuesday, Mr. Furniss
pleaded with Magistrate Ramsay-Hale to reconsider her ruling. His efforts were
unsuccessful.