'Not enough evidence' in Little Cayman robbery

Nearly two years after five men arrived via boat on the shores of Cayman’s smallest island to rob a convenience store, no charges have been filed in the case.

Five men arrested shortly after the Nov. 26, 2013 incident on Little Cayman were ultimately released by the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service because “there wasn’t enough evidence to bring charges against them,” a police spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

If further evidence is received, the case could be pursued, but at the moment local police have no new leads, the spokesperson confirmed.

The apparently pre-planned heist involved a group of men who used two watercraft to commit the store robbery. Around 1:10 p.m. on that day police received a report that five men entered the Mini Mart in Blossom Village, Little Cayman. Police said “a number of the men” were armed with what appeared to be firearms.

A bank next door to the mini mart was left alone by the robbers, but it was closed for business that day. Police said the suspects stole a cash pan from the store, ran off and boarded what was described as a “fast vessel.” They then headed out to sea.

The RCIPS Air Operations and Marine Units mounted a search for the suspects’ boat and located it and its occupants about 25 miles off East End in Grand Cayman around 3:30 p.m. the same afternoon, according to a press release issued from the department at the time. The men, all Caymanians ages 20, 27, 27, 29 and 40, were arrested and brought to Grand Cayman.

A writ of habeas corpus filed by an attorney representing three of the five men, which was never heard in court, sought the suspects’ immediate release from custody.

All five men arrested in connection with the robbery were released in early December 2013 without the need for a court hearing.

A writ of habeas corpus is a court order that requires a person under arrest to be brought before a court on the principle that their detention lacks sufficient evidence to support it.

The attorney who filed the writ, James Stenning, has declined at any time to discuss the reasons he believed his clients were being unlawfully held. He acknowledged that writs of habeas corpus are and “should be” unusual in the Cayman Islands courts.

The Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions also declined to discuss the matter when contacted about it this week.