Bail denied on brewery burglary charge

Crown cites evidence of fingerprint from cash register

Joel Jason Smith, 47, was remanded in custody on Tuesday after an unsuccessful bail hearing in front of Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn. 

On Monday, Smith pleaded not guilty to the burglary at Cayman Islands Brewery on Friday, 17 August. The charge details are that he entered as a trespasser and stole CI$528 and US$102, plus three gold-coloured business award medals. He elected trial in Summary Court in Grand Cayman. 

Attorney John Furniss appeared for him the next day and said that, with the court diary now being filled through March 2013, bail should be granted on the basis of the delay before a trial could take place. 

Crown Counsel Michael Snape objected to bail. He said a key piece of evidence linking the defendant with the crime was the cash register. 

Mr. Snape explained that a production supervisor was in the building on Shamrock Road when he heard a noise and went to investigate. He discovered that a window had been smashed between the front office and the car park, and the cash register appeared to be missing. 

The supervisor called police, who searched the surrounding area. They found the cash register. Fingerprint lifts were taken from the rear of the plastic coin tray from inside the register. A print was identified as that of Smith. 

Mr. Snape said it would not be expected that someone would have innocently handled the coin tray from inside the register. 

Mr. Furniss said it appeared that the Crown’s case rested on one single fingerprint; he accepted this was a triable issue. He suggested that bail could be granted with conditions including a curfew and electronic monitoring. 

The magistrate cited Smith’s record of previous convictions, including for burglary. She said in the court’s view the evidence was strong and, if convicted, Smith would face a significant sentence. 

In denying bail, however, she looked for an early trial date. Monday, 7 January, was agreed on by all parties. 

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