Dainian Henry acquitted in importation of cocaine case
Justice Malcolm Swift directed the jury in Grand Court on Wednesday to return a verdict of not guilty in the trial of Dainian Cecil Henry, who had been charged with being concerned in importation of cocaine in 2008.
Henry, now 33, was arrested in January 2009, after being named by Dean Ronald Bayley as the man who had talked him into bringing drugs back to Cayman from Jamaica. Bayley’s evidence was that he was supplied with plastic-wrapped packages about the size of his little finger at Henry’s house in Jamaica and that after the men returned to Cayman, it was Henry who contacted him to try to collect the packages.
Bayley subsequently pleaded guilty to importing 66.68 grams of cocaine and was sentenced to three-and-a-half years.
Henry pleaded not guilty and was set to be tried in Summary Court on Oct. 27, 2009. Ahead of that date he was in custody for attempted robbery and firearm possession, but on Oct. 25, he escaped from custody at the George Town Police Station. On his trial date, the Crown applied for the matter to proceed in his absence. Magistrate Grace Donalds said the procedure was somewhat unusual, but she agreed. After hearing Crown evidence, she found him guilty, and Henry was sentenced to 11 years’ imprisonment.
In August 2013, Henry was escorted by police back to Cayman from Jamaica. In December, Magistrate Valdis Foldats sentenced him to six months for escaping lawful custody.
In March 2014, defense attorney Guy Dilliway-Parry successfully appealed Henry’s conviction for being concerned in the cocaine importation. Justice Swift allowed the appeal on the basis that the magistrate had not properly considered the question of corroborating evidence.
Justice Swift ordered a retrial and Henry elected to be tried in Grand Court by a jury. Meanwhile, the Crown entered a formal notice that the attempted robbery and firearm charges were not being proceeded with because of the poor identification evidence.
The final matter, then, was the charge of being concerned in cocaine importation and a jury began hearing evidence on Monday.
The Crown’s main witness was Bayley. In cross-examination, Mr. Dilliway-Parry pointed to contradictions and inconsistencies in Bayley’s evidence, plus information he gave now that he never mentioned when the incident occurred. The attorney referred to Bayley’s other convictions.
Two other witnesses gave evidence; they were police officers who stayed with Bayley after his arrest, when he was allowed to have his cellphone in the expectation that Henry would be contacting him.
Henry did contact him and asked when he could collect his “wheel bearings.” One officer made notes of the conversation. No recording was made. The word cocaine was never used.
Henry, in his interview with police, always denied any involvement in cocaine; he maintained that he had asked Bayley to bring car parts.
Justice Swift heard arguments from Crown counsel Greg Walcolm and Mr. Dilliway-Parry in the absence of the jurors. On Wednesday afternoon, he said the trial had reached the stage where he had to decide if the evidence was adequate, sufficient or satisfactory enough for them to carry on considering the case.
“I do not see how any jury properly directed could convict,” he told them. The jurors had already been told that the Crown had to prove the case beyond reasonable doubt.
The judge said no one in their right mind could find this defendant guilty, so he was directing the not guilty verdict.