Crown witness sentenced to three years

Judge says defendant deserves significant reward for bringing criminals to justice

A Crown witness who has testified in three major trials was sentenced on Thursday to three years imprisonment in Grand Court for his own role in two crimes.

Marlon Hudson Dillon, 30, already has been in custody for two years and five months. He pleaded guilty to possession of an imitation firearm and robbery at the Cayman National Bank branch in Buckingham Square, when half a million dollars was stolen.

He later pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the robbers of Weststar TV Centre by driving them to and from a scene where they switched cars to facilitate the robbery and avoid detection.

Most recently, he gave evidence in the trial of Brian Borden, who was subsequently convicted of the murder of Robert Macford Bush.

In a previous sentencing hearing, Director Public Prosecutions Cheryll Richards told Justice Charles Quin that Dillon’s assistance was significant. Justice Quin agreed with Ms. Richards and defense counsel Sallie Bennett-Jenkins that the discount should demonstrate that it is worthwhile to expose the criminal behavior of others for the good of the law-abiding public.

Dillon gave evidence against five men who were subsequently convicted by a jury of the CNB robbery; they received sentences ranging from nine to 14 years.

He also gave evidence against four of the same men charged with robbery or aiding and abetting in the Weststar matter; three of them were convicted in a judge-alone trial and received sentences between five and 11 years.

Justice Quin said Dillon would likely have received three to four years for his role in the Weststar robbery and eight to 10 years in the CNB robbery.

The judge’s task was to balance punishment for Dillon’s crimes and a reward for his voluntary and courageous assistance.

After considering Dillon’s lack of previous convictions, his early guilty pleas and his assistance, Justin Quin imposed three years for the CNB robbery, 18 months for the imitation firearm and 18 months for his role in the Weststar robbery, making them run concurrently.

He accepted that Dillon had lived in fear of his life since giving assistance. He had been kept in solitary confinement in a small cell without natural light and his physical and mental well-being were affected. He developed a fungal infection and lost pigmentation. At one point, he was moved for three weeks to a place of confinement described as a “dog kennel.”

Justice Quin said the conditions of Dillon’s incarceration were fairly dreadful and far worse than if he had been in Northward Prison. Solitary confinement in these conditions constituted punishment for the crimes Dillon had committed.

Dillon’s wife and children had been moved from Cayman to another location and he had not seen them in more than two years.

Mrs. Bennett-Jenkins had asked the judge not to record any convictions against Dillon so that he could get a visa and join his family. Ms. Richards objected, saying the crimes were too serious.

In his sentencing remarks, Justice Quin pointed out that the CNB robbery involved theft of more than $500,000 and was the largest in the history of the Cayman Islands. In addition, the bank staff had to spend hundreds of hours dealing with the impact of the robbery and several staff members suffered from the emotional and psychological impact of being put in fear and feeling helpless when the robbery took place.

He agreed that Dillon’s offending was too serious for no convictions to be recorded. But he concluded that Dillon was genuinely remorseful and had assisted in bringing people to justice who otherwise would not have been: he had done a great service to the people of the Cayman Islands at considerable risk to himself and his family.

The court will play no role in what happens to Dillon after he serves his sentence, Justice Quin noted, but he hoped authorities would use their best endeavors to ensure that Dillon will be reunited with his family.

Dillon said he was deeply sorry for what he had done and he wanted the people of the Cayman Islands to know of his remorse. He promised to live a valuable life and choose the right path forward. Justice Quin referred to the time frame in which the Weststar and CNB robberies occurred. “It was a crazy five weeks and you have paid heavily for those five weeks.”

Dillon said he had been hanging out with the wrong people.