Fine is maximum allowed by The Gambling Law
A man found in possession of two lottery tickets was fined $10 last week by Magistrate Nova Hall.
She said Chris Robert Welcome was charged under section 6 of the Gambling Law, so that was the maximum fine she could impose. “I know every time section six comes up I wonder, are they going to amend the law?” she asked. Section 6, in general, deals with people who buy lottery tickets. A guilty person is liable to a fine of $10 or to imprisonment, with or without hard labour, for two months.
Welcome’s case was different from that of a lady who was fined $350 earlier in the week; her conviction was for selling numbers. She was charged under section 4, which has a penalty of up to $400 or imprisonment for 12 months (Caymanian Compass, 9 August).
Both penalties have been in effect since 1963. The Gambling Law was revised in 1996, but the revision process does not allow for changes in substance. All it can do is consolidate the main law with later amendments and make an alteration to bring the law into conformity with the circumstances of these Islands.
In this case, the change of circumstances was the change of the Cayman Islands’ currency from British pounds to CI dollars. Ten dollars was considered to be the equivalent of the 1963 fine of five pounds (and $400 the equivalent of 200 pounds).
Welcome pleaded guilty to possession of the lottery tickets after an incident that occurred during a traffic stop on 29 November 2010. Crown Counsel Laura Manson and defence attorney John Furniss provided the background to the charge.
They said officers were conducting the check along West Bay Road and stopped Welcome’s car. They questioned him about the degree of tint on the windows; an argument developed and “things went a little awry,” Mr. Furniss said. Officers subsequently requested a search. As one of them began to search Welcome, he pushed the officer’s hands away. This resulted in a charge of assaulting an officer in the execution of his duty. A search of the vehicle resulted in the finding of the two lottery tickets. Mr. Furniss said Welcome, 29, regretted the incident. “The last thing he wants to happen is to ever be back before the court again,” he said.
The fine for assault was $400 or 40 days in custody; the fine for the lottery tickets was $10 or one day.