Justice Michael Wood handed down a sentence of seven months imprisonment on Friday for a man on a work permit who pleaded guilty to an indecent assault of a teenaged girl.
Justice Wood emphasized that the sentence of Jason Oliver Jackson was not to be cited as a precedent in future cases. He acknowledged that a sentence of seven months was lower than he would normally pass, but he was also recommending deportation, which meant that Jackson could never return.
Noting that Jackson had been on work permit, he commented that he did not see why the Cayman Islands should pay for Jackson’s continued incarceration. The defendant had already been in custody seven months.
“The point is, I’ve been told it costs something like $70,000 to keep someone in Northward Prison [for a year,]” Justice Wood said.
The sentencing starting point for an indecent assault of this nature was one year after trial, with a range from community service to two years. Jackson did not plead guilty right away, so his discount would be 25 percent instead of the usual 33 percent: the discount would have resulted in a prison term of nine months.
“What’s the point of keeping him here?” the judge asked.
Later he observed, “Plus, I’m aware the prison is extremely full.”
Details of the indecent assault were not aired in open court, since defense attorney Prathna Bodden had submitted a written basis of plea and senior Crown counsel Nicole Petit had responded in writing, with the judge reviewing submissions before court began.
However, Ms. Petit did point out that Jackson was 36, more than twice the age of the 17-year-old complainant/victim and he had asked her mother the girl’s age.
Jackson had been staying with the girl’s family as a lodger for about two weeks, having been introduced by a mutual acquaintance.
After court adjourned, Ms. Petit explained further that the indecent assault occurred when Jackson went to the home, where the girl was alone, during his lunch break. She was small for her age and could not fight him off. She made her complaint immediately after the incident.
Ms. Bodden said Jackson was genuinely remorseful and was of previous good character. She noted that his work permit had been canceled as soon as he was arrested.
In considering any aggravating or mitigating factors, Justice Wood also pointed out that by his guilty plea, Jackson had saved the victim from having to give evidence.