Arrest warrant ordered after store manager misses court

Craig Gaskill was allowed to leave jurisdiction

The Cayman Islands courthouse.

Justice Malcolm Swift ordered a warrant for the arrest of Craig Austin Gaskill on Tuesday morning after the defendant failed to appear in Grand Court on Friday for a mention of his case.

Crown counsel Toyin Salako said Gaskill, 44, who is charged with two counts of obtaining by deception while employed at Kirk Market as store manager, was given permission to travel to the United States.

His bail conditions were varied so that he had to provide his travel itinerary, provide three sureties totaling $22,500, return his passport by June 9 and answer his bail on June 10.

Justice Swift indicated that he only had an email indicating that Gaskill’s father had suffered a stroke.

Defense attorney Laura Larner provided further information about the older man’s condition. She understood that Gaskill was about to get on the plane last week to return to Cayman when he received word that his father had been re-admitted to hospital and so the defendant did not board the plane.

“The illness of a parent is extremely stressing,” she pointed out. “Under the circumstances, one doesn’t always make the best decisions. We have had information from him indicative of his intention to return.”

There were issues involving care and insurance, she noted.

Justice Swift said he would issue a warrant for Gaskill’s arrest, not backed for bail. He added that if Gaskill returns, he will consider re-bail.

Ms. Salako also urged the court to activate the sureties. She said people need to understand their responsibility when they agree to undertake that a defendant will attend court. Justice Swift said he would order that the sureties be notified. He said he would fix a date for them to attend and explain why the sums pledged should not be forfeited.

One of the charges Gaskill faces alleges obtaining $509,975.50 between March 11, 2013, and Nov. 5, 2015, by falsely representing that he had a master’s degree in business administration. The second charge is that he obtained property worth $34,315.54 between April 6, 2014, and Nov. 5, 2015, by falsely representing that he was authorized to buy the property with a corporate credit card.

Informal records kept by the Cayman Compass show that the question of travel had been raised earlier this year. Attorney Alice Carver had applied in Summary Court for permission for Gaskill to travel because he was unable to work while awaiting trial and he had been living off the charity of friends. Further, his wife and children had returned to the U.S. and the defendant was being deprived of his right to family life. The Crown had objected to the application.

The charges were committed to Grand Court on April 21.

Several bail variation hearings were held; June 10 was set as a mention for a trial date to be fixed.

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