Robbery sentences adjourned

Three men face sentences for involvement in both CNB and WestStar robberies

Five men found guilty of robbing a Cayman National Bank branch last year are scheduled to hear their sentences on Tuesday afternoon. 

David Tamasa, George Mignott, Andre Burton, Ryan Edwards and Rennie Cole were convicted after trial by jury for involvement in the robbery of CNB at Buckingham Square off West Bay Road on the morning of June 28, 2012. The robbery itself took just one minute, 47 seconds; monies stolen totaled over half a million dollars – $502,436.17. 

Tamasa, Burton and Edwards are also being sentenced by another judge, Justice Alastair Malcolm, who last week found them guilty of robbing WestStar Television Centre on May 24, 2012. 

A sixth man, Marlon Dillon, pleaded guilty to his involvement in both robberies and then gave evidence for the Crown in both trials. He is scheduled to be sentenced separately next month. 

Justice Alexander Henderson, who presided at the CNB trial, began hearing submissions on Friday as to sentencing precedents. Defense attorneys also spoke in mitigation for each defendant separately. 

Director of Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards advised that the maximum sentence for robbery in Cayman is life imprisonment. Possession of a firearm or imitation firearm with intent to commit an offence carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. 

Both sides cited previous sentences for robbery when the defendant was not a teenager; they tended to range between eight and 14 years. Factors to be considered included the number of robbers, the use of disguises and weapons and the effect on victims. 

Another issue was whether use of an imitation firearm should attract a lesser sentence than use of a real firearm. 

After Justice Henderson finished hearing all the attorneys for the CNB matter at 3:10 p.m., Justice Malcolm’s court began. Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Trevor Ward set out the Crown’s position on sentencing principles and precedents. It was not possible to conclude the defense attorneys’ speeches in mitigation Friday, so the matter was adjourned until Monday morning, Oct. 28. 

The original plan had been for Justice Malcolm to pass sentence first and then Justice Henderson.  

Justice Malcolm pointed out that, under Cayman’s Penal Code, the men facing sentences for the two separate robberies would serve them consecutively, unless the sentencing judge ruled otherwise. 

Consecutive sentences might result in a length of imprisonment that would prompt attorneys to ask the second judge to consider totality, he noted. 

This sentencing principle means the total sentence must be just and appropriate to the totality of the offending behavior, but not so long that it would crush the offender’s hope of leading a useful life after release.