Editorial for 6 December: Reasonable and justifiable

The Cayman Islands 2009 Constitution Order places a great
deal of emphasis in its Bill of Rights on what can be considered reasonably
justifiable in a democratic society.

While that wording is not strictly applicable to the below
discussion of specific criminal cases in our editorial, we ask our readers to
keep it in mind.

Robert Schultz, the former manager of the Chamber of
Commerce pension fund, was sentenced on Tuesday to five years imprisonment
after his conviction for theft of nearly US$290,000 from the retirement fund.
We are not in this writing arguing one way or the other in relation to the
sentence ordered by Grand Court Justice Charles Quin. Whether it is reasonable
or fair is not for us to state.

For our purposes here, we will merely list some other
sentences given in Grand Court for various offences in recent years.

*Patrick Brooks-Dixon; three years in prison for causing
death by dangerous driving.

*Brooke Nowak; 15 months in prison for causing death by
dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol.

*Dave Bryan; 6 years stemming from allegations he
overcharged $300,000 worth of bread to Foster’s Food Fair.

*Dean Ron Bayley; two years and eight months added to a
prison sentence for biting off a piece of a prison officer’s ear. Previously he
received a nine month add-on sentence for punching another prison officer in
the face.

*Charlton Bengar Ebanks; three years in prison after
pleading guilty to seven burglaries.

*Anthony and Thomas Watson; 15 years for cocaine and ganja
possession and distribution-related charges

The circumstances in each of these cases are vastly
different, as are the crimes each individual was convicted of or pleaded guilty
to committing.

Yet, we can’t help but notice, the two cases that involved
causing the death of another person and one that involved perpetrating an
assault on an officer of the law received toward the lower end of the
sentencing scale. So, what is reasonably justifiable? That is a question we
feel needs urgent examination in this territory with regard to prison
sentences.

 

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4 COMMENTS

  1. There is a long-standing principle that the Court passes sentence for the crime, not the outcome. In the two cases you mention the offence was dangerous driving. The fact that someone was killed is an aggravating factor, and a serious one, but it is not the crime the defendant is being sentenced for.

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  2. Listen, the more money that is involved in a crime, is the higher the sentence. They could care less if you bite off someones ear. It is the money pal! You steal and step on some daddys toes, you will pay big – unless you are upper class, then you get off lightly.

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  3. I wonder how much time in prison Robert Schultz would get had he caused death by dangerous driving while under the influence of alcohol? Or, had he committed seven burglaries?

    I guess the the real question is, does the punishment actually fit the crime?

    Crime is crime no matter who commits it. No one is above the law, irrespective of the circumstances or the perpetrator’s position in life. However, the point to consider is, as stated, what is reasonable and justifiable in each case?

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