A man caught driving three times while disqualified was sentenced last week to eight months’ immediate imprisonment plus another two months for offenses that showed his “total disregard for authority.”
Sydney Oliver Duane Smith, 28, pleaded guilty to four sets of traffic charges plus damaging his girlfriend’s cellphone plus possession of ganja and failure to provide a specimen of urine for testing.
Magistrate Valdis Foldats said what struck him about the offending was the fact that Smith’s immigration status was uncertain, yet he had shown disrespect for being in this country.
The magistrate noted that the maximum sentence for driving while disqualified is imprisonment for one year. “Maybe that should be changed,” he commented.
Defense attorney John Furniss said he was aware of the court’s attitude toward multiple offenses and he asked for the lowest possible sentence. He pointed out that there had not been any accident observed on any of the occasions when Smith was stopped.
On the damage charge, Mr. Furniss said Smith had replaced his girlfriend’s phone.
On the ganja charge, he said Smith had explained that he smoked “to keep himself out of trouble” because it kept him calm rather than getting angry and getting in further trouble.
Smith had been in Cayman with the right to remain and work because he was married to a Caymanian. The marriage had deteriorated and a divorce had recently been finalized, Mr. Furniss explained. The defendant had become involved in another relationship and it was his intention to marry, Mr. Furniss said. Meanwhile, Smith was waiting for his immigration situation to be clarified.
The magistrate said his sentence had to discourage Smith and others who might be tempted to drive while disqualified.
All four sets of traffic offenses included driving without insurance.
The magistrate imposed sentences of two, four and eight months for driving while disqualified, but made them run concurrently.
The sentence for damage was one month concurrent, but the ganja sentence was two months consecutive.
“The law of the land is straightforward: ganja is illegal in this country,” the magistrate told Smith.
In addition to imprisonment, Smith was disqualified from driving for seven years. “I don’t know what’s going to happen to your immigration situation … but you can’t drive, and if you do, you’re going to jail,” the magistrate told him.