Firearm, wounding charges follow ganja case

Joseph St. Aubryn Hill accused of shooting man in West Bay in August

A man scheduled to be sentenced on Thursday for ganja-related offenses was instead committed to stand trial in Grand Court on charges relating to a shooting in West Bay on Saturday, Aug. 24. 

Joseph St. Aubryn Hill, 23, is accused of unlawfully and maliciously wounding a named person with intent to do grievous bodily harm. The incident occurred on Powell Smith Road. He is further charged with possession of an imitation firearm with intent.  

Hill first appeared in Summary Court on Aug. 29. At that time, crown counsel Marilyn Brandt told the court that immigration officers were conducting an operation on Aug. 27 on Farrington Lane in West Bay, where the accused was present. When they asked him about his immigration status, he indicated he had arrived by boat. Questioned further, Hill said he had been fishing off Westmoreland, Jamaica, and had engine problems; his boat then drifted to Cayman.  

When interviewed, Hill indicated he had arrived on Aug. 24 and that his purpose in coming here was that he was importing approximately 100 pounds of ganja. However, he said, the ganja was discarded because the boat ran out of fuel, and he wanted to get rid of the drug at sea. He also stated he was here on Aug. 17, at which time he imported approximately 50 pounds of ganja. That quantity was passed over to the intended recipient, he related.  

Ms Brandt said Hill’s identity was confirmed by his passport and taxpayer identification. His passport did not have the required stamp to show he had entered Cayman legally. Checks were made with Immigration headquarters, and there were no records to show him entering by legal means. This information, and Hill’s admissions, resulted in the ganja and illegal landing charges being laid, Ms Brandt explained. 

His charge sheets did not show any local address. They listed a street and number in Kingston, Jamaica. 

Hill remained in custody, returning to court on several occasions with Attorney John Furniss representing him. On September 12, Hill pleaded guilty to importing ganja on Aug. 17, attempting to import ganja on Aug. 24, and landing illegally on both dates. 

The magistrate ordered a social inquiry report and sentencing was adjourned until Nov. 14. Last week, Magistrate Valdis Foldats directed that Hill return to Summary Court for sentencing on Dec. 11. He transmitted the wounding and firearm charges to Grand Court, where Hill is to appear on Friday, Nov. 22. 

Also on Thursday, a man, 23, and a woman, 33, appeared in Summary Court for the first time on separate charges of knowingly assisting Hill to land illegally in the Cayman Islands between July 1 and Sept. 1. They were directed to return to court on Dec. 10.