Two plead guilty to aggravated burglary

The two men, ages 19 and 21, are in custody

Two men pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated burglary arising from an incident at Cayman Reef Resort along Seven Mile Beach on Nov. 7. 

A burglary is aggravated when the intruder has a weapon at the time of entry. 

The two men appeared in Grand Court on Monday. Through their attorney, Alice Carver, defendants Brandon Shaquille Browning, 19, and Jamie McLean, 21, had asked Justice Robin McMillan for what is known as a “Goodyear direction” – an indication from the judge of what their maximum sentence would be if they entered a guilty plea. 

After hearing a summary of the offense from Crown counsel Scott Wainwright and receiving further information from Ms. Carver, Justice McMillan asked several questions, including some about the location of the burglary. 

He wondered if its occurrence in a place of primary economic activity involving tourism would aggravate the offense. Ms. Carver’s answer was no; she pointed out that the victims were residents. 

The judge asked whether, if the victims were in their own home, which happened to be next to the beach, did that not detract from the attorney’s suggestion that there was a distinction between residents and visitors? 

Ms. Carver replied that the offending had been opportunistic, in that the defendants were in the area at the time. 

Mr. Wainwright submitted that location was capable of being an aggravating feature in that it was in the heart of the tourist recreational/residential area. 

Justice McMillan accepted that a Goodyear hearing was appropriate to the circumstances of this case. He indicated that on the basis of material submitted, he would use a starting point of four years’ custody, with a range of two to six years. 

The range gives a judge room to adjust a sentence upward, depending on aggravating factors, or downward, depending on any mitigating factors. These factors would be explored in detail at the sentencing hearing. 

The court adjourned briefly while Ms. Carver discussed the matter with the two defendants. 

After being reassured that six years would be the maximum, the defendants asked to have the charge put to them: That on Nov. 7 at Cayman Reef Resort, they entered a specified apartment as trespassers with intent to steal and at the time of entering had with them a weapon – namely, a flick knife. 

Both pleaded guilty and Ms. Carver asked for social inquiry reports before sentencing, in light of their ages. Justice McMillan said he would also ask for victim impact statements. He set the sentencing hearing for Feb. 2 to give time for the reports to be compiled. 

In his summary on a previous occasion, Mr. Wainwright told the court that just before 10 p.m., two males, one of them armed with a knife, entered the apartment and demanded money. Challenged by one of the occupants, they fled the scene. Police were called and arrested the two shortly afterward in the vicinity of the Royal Palms Beach Resort. 

They were interviewed under caution and accepted going to the scene, but not making any demands for money. They accepted having the knife. They said they had gone to the apartment to confront the male after a previous altercation in the street. 

Both defendants have been in custody since they were apprehended. 

A police report issued after the incident indicated that a female had phoned 911 around 9:47 p.m. to say that two males had broken into her apartment and were fighting with her boyfriend. Nothing was stolen during the burglary, nor were any injuries reported.