Court notes escalation in robberies
Saying the business community and
the public in general need protection, Justice Charles Quin sentenced Josh
Alexander Bodden to four years imprisonment for robbing a small shop and
carrying an imitation firearm at the time.
Bodden, 23, pleaded guilty to the
offence, which occurred in West Bay on 21 July.
Justice Quin said whether the gun
was real or imitation was not a major factor in sentencing because the amount
of fear it would cause the victim was likely to be the same. The victim might
not be able to distinguish whether the gun was real or not, he pointed out. The
court must take into account the escalation of this type of offence in Cayman,
Sentencing took place on 22
December, but as Defence Attorney John Furniss said, Bodden was arrested the
same day as the robbery and made admissions right away.
One reason for the early arrest was
shop owner Archibold Bonner’s identification of Bodden, who was not wearing a
mask and whom he had known since Bodden was a boy. In fact, Bodden had gone to
the shop earlier that morning to get some juice.
As Crown Counsel Tanya Lobban
related the incident, Mr. Bonner was behind the shop counter around 11.45am
when he heard someone come into the store. He heard the person say, “Mr.
Archie, give me what you got” and saw a small brown handgun pointed at his
face. At first he thought it was a joke, but then the person clicked the gun
and he realised the situation was serious. He picked up his cash box and the
robber took CI$46 and US$2. He put the money in his pocket and said, “I will
bring you something back, Mr. Archie.”
Mr. Bonner told police the robber
was a regular customer to whom he gave credit. He later picked Bodden out of an
Mr. Furniss told the court that
Bodden had been to a relative’s house after visiting the shop and then, while
on the way home, found the toy gun.
“He was bought up in a decent
Christian home with proper values,” Mr. Furniss told the court. But Bodden got
in with the wrong crowd and tried cocaine. His family sent him to
rehabilitation in the US and he was fine for two months after he came back, but
then he met up with the old group. The desire for the drug seemed to have been
the motivation for the robbery, the attorney said.
He urged the court to consider a
probation officer’s recommendation of community service following Bodden’s five
months in custody. Ms Lobban, however, asked the court to impose a sentence
with a deterrent effect, having regard to recent cases in which there had been
a brandishing of guns.
Justice Quin accepted that Bodden
appeared contrite, but noted his previous convictions for drugs and the fact
that this robbery occurred while he was on probation. He said the 2008
sentencing guidelines from the UK were helpful: for robbery of a small
business, where a weapon is produced, the range is two to seven years.