Justice Michael Wood sentenced a man on Friday to one year imprisonment for burglary, but said he did not intend to set a precedent.

He told defendant Theo Kuldani Samy, 27, that his sentence was based on several factors: the prison is full; it now costs in the region of $70,000 a year to keep someone in custody; and “I don’t see why the public should bear the cost of keeping you in prison.”

Further, he was recommending deportation after Samy completed his sentence. For Samy’s sake and for the sake of everybody, he hoped that would take place as soon as possible. “Why should the prison be clogged up with someone who is going to be deported?” he asked at an earlier stage of proceedings.

Samy had pleaded not guilty to the charge of burglary, which occurred on the night of Dec. 25-26, 2015 – Christmas Day into Boxing Day, Justice Wood noted. Trial was held earlier this month and a jury found Samy guilty. Crown counsel Neil Kumar conducted the case for the prosecution, while attorney James Stenning defended.

The offense was a residential burglary, which could have attracted a sentence in the range of three to seven years. The judge agreed with Mr. Stenning that the tariff in Cayman is high. In England, a similar offense would attract a starting point sentence of one year, with a range extending from community service to two years imprisonment.

Justice Wood reviewed the facts, noting that the victims were asleep in their apartment, which was located across the hall from where Samy was staying.

The male victim was awakened by a sound in the living room; he saw the front door opened and then saw the door closing on the opposite side of the hall.

The man got out of bed and went to the other apartment, where he banged on the door but received no reply. Police were called and they discovered a laptop poorly hidden under a cushion in Samy’s apartment, with other electronic equipment behind a sofa. The items belonged to the male victim.

Samy claimed the female victim had sold the items to him for $500. He then claimed that he and she were in a sexual relationship.

Justice Wood accepted that Samy had been drinking before the burglary and the victims’ door was unlocked. That said, the evidence was overwhelming. Samy had run a dishonest defense, including making scurrilous remarks about the female victim.

In mitigation, Mr. Stenning said Samy wanted to openly apologize to the victims and to the wider community that had allowed him to work here as a line cook.

Samy also apologized to his employer, the people who had written references for him and to his family for disappointing them. As a convicted person, he will now have great problems traveling, the attorney pointed out.

At one point in the hearing, Justice Wood commented that “Burglary is a growth industry in Cayman.” He said the fastest rising categories of offenses here were burglary and firearms. He made the observation after dealing with five cases involving firearms, as reported in Monday’s Cayman Compass.

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