Court upholds former housing official’s prison sentence

Citing a need to deter similar offending, the Cayman Islands Court of Appeal ruled on Tuesday that six months immediate imprisonment was not wrong or excessive in the case of Edlin Myles, a former deputy director of the National Housing Development Trust. 

Justice Alexander Henderson had imposed the sentence on the basis that Myles’s offending was a serious breach of the high degree of trust people had placed in him. Myles’s sentence had been held in abeyance pending his appeal. 

A jury in June 2014 found him guilty of obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception and obtaining property by deception. His three victims had applied for housing through the national scheme. He called them after obtaining their private details from an employee of the trust. A licensed insurance agent, he gave them the impression that they had to obtain life insurance immediately rather than wait to see if their applications would be approved. 

The amount paid in premiums by the three was a total of $630. 

Michael Duck, QC, instructed by attorney Clyde Allen, argued that the amount of money was small and Myles had repaid the victims; he had lost his insurance license, his reputation and any chance to work in the financial industry. Now 63, “his life has been devastated,” Mr. Duck said of his client. 

Mr. Duck pointed out that offenses involving such a small amount would typically be punished with a fine or community service and asked for the prison sentence to be suspended. 

Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran said a suspended sentence could be seen as having no deterrence at all, pointing out that Myles had abused the public trust, not just the trust of an employer. 

Justice Sir Richard Field, who heard the appeal with Justice John Martin and Justice Sir Alan Moses, quoted from the sentencing remarks of Justice Henderson, who said that Myles’s entitlement to a commission on the insurance policies he sold was a conflict of interest and that he held a position of authority and public trust. 

Myles had originally given notice of his intention to appeal against his convictions also, but this was not pursued.