Suspect in hook stick attack goes free

A suspect who was detained Wednesday after police said he attacked Department of Environment Officers, illegally took lobster and conch and then stole a government truck, was released by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service that same night.

Department of Environment officials said it was their understanding that the release was done inadvertently, and that the man was now back in custody.

The RCIPS released the following statement on the incident: “As is normal practice in such cases,  once the suspect has been processed and the necessary checks completed, he was released on police bail.

“It was only after his release that the full circumstances of the criminal matters relating to the incident came to light. As such, he has now been rearrested in relation to those matters. He is now in police custody on suspicion of assault, threatening violence and disorderly conduct.

“We are currently looking at all of the circumstances to ensure that where lessons need to be learned we take the appropriate action.”

The 52-year-old suspect, who is not being named because he has not been formally charged was re-arrested after nearly 24 hours at large, DOE officers said.

“I think the guy who made error…saw ‘contact DOE’ on the file and assumed that it was appropriate to bail the suspect to come back on Saturday,” said DOE Chief Enforcement Officer Mark Orr, who added that the officer may not have been aware of the seriousness of the suspect’s offences.

Aroud 2pm on Wednesday, three environment officers confronted a man on the shoreline near the Pirate’s Lair in South Sound. Police said the man was suspected of taking conch and lobster from a marine life replenishment zone.

As officers approached the suspect, he lashed out at them with a hook stick, cutting one of the officers on his forearm. The man then took a Department of Environment vehicle, parked nearby and ran.

A short time later the suspect was spotted by police on patrol, stopped and arrested on suspicion of traffic and marine conservation offences.


  1. I personally find these continuing stories of the police making serious errors in judgment disheartening. It is really important that the public at large gets the message that assault on a DoE officer doing their duty will be taken seriously and that prison time is warranted.
    Releasing the suspect is another pie in the face of the RCIP.

  2. I dont think we should be too tough on the RCIPS, this kind of thing happens everywhere.

    In September 2006, Cheshire Constabulary left an unmanned police car guarding a jewellery shop they had been tipped off might be the target for a robbery.

    The armed robbers then walked straight past the car into the store and, despite the fact that staff set off alarms, walked out with stock valued at around 500,000.

    Afterwards David Baines, then Assistant Chief Constable with Cheshire Constabulary, is quoted as saying, I regret on this occasion it was not enough and an offence did occur causing considerable distress to those involved. We are reviewing what we did, if it was appropriate in light of the information, and could we have done more, and to learn from that.

    And Im sure that lessons will be learned from this incident.

  3. quote

    Posted by BurningFish on 2/18/2011 2:51:22 PM

    an inept police force in the middle of a very serious crime wave makes for a very dangerous place to live. I think its time for Mr. baines to pack his bags.

    end quote

    … And a dangerous place to live, makes a very bad place for Business, tourism prosperity…

    Can we put it any simpler than this ?
    If the governement wants a little drawing on the side… we can do that also?

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