A woman scheduled to be sentenced for theft and false accounting on Monday afternoon left Grand Cayman for Honduras on Monday morning.
Shekiera Ginell Watler, 27, had been charged with falsifying inventory records and stealing 16 cellphones valued at approximately $15,000 from her employer, CashWiz. The offenses occurred between October 2015 and March 2016.
The matter first came before the courts in August. Watler pleaded guilty on Nov. 22, 2016.
This week, defense attorney John Furniss attended Summary Court, presided over by Magistrate Valdis Foldats. When his client did not appear at the appointed hour, Mr. Furniss obtained the court’s permission to make several phone calls. After an attempt to contact the defendant directly, he advised that the line was “dead.”
He was able to contact the young woman who had stood as surety for the defendant and she quickly came to court.
“She told me her court case was over,” the woman who posted her surety explained. “I dropped her to the airport this morning to go to Honduras.”
Questioned further, she said Watler told her the case had been sorted out – that she had to pay a fine and do community service. Asked whether or when Watler had said she would be returning, the woman said December. She also confirmed that Watler had taken her child with her.
The woman agreed she had signed as a surety in the sum of $2,000.
Magistrate Foldats expressed some uncertainty as to whether she was still liable.
He explained, “When you signed, you were saying ‘I will be responsible to make sure she comes to all her court appearances.’ She didn’t come. Now the court looks to you.”
Going through the history of the case, he and Mr. Furniss compared their notes from various dates.
There were times Watler had missed court because of the child. In March and April this year, she attended but the court did not proceed to sentencing because the victim impact report was not ready.
Her next scheduled date was June 5; she did not appear and a warrant was issued for her arrest with no bail. However, Watler voluntarily attended the next day.
The magistrate said it was clear that the surety’s obligation continued until June 5, but it was not clear whether she was still responsible once the “warrant, no bail” had been issued. To avoid doubt, he removed her from the recognizance and advised that she would not have to pay $2,000.
He issued another warrant for Watler’s arrest, also with no bail.
“Warrant, no bail” means that the officer who arrests the wanted person cannot offer him or her bail but must produce the person to the court.