Seth Watler was given a 10-month suspended sentence and 100 hours of community service on Wednesday after pleading guilty to causing grievous bodily harm to a Cayman Islands police officer.

Mr. Watler, 25, encountered Detective Superintendent Peter Lansdown after a one-car accident on Oct. 14, and he admitted punching the officer in front of several witnesses.

Mr. Lansdown was knocked unconscious due to hitting the pavement following the attack, and he sustained several injuries including a fractured rib, bruised cheeks and a laceration to his head. The officer was hospitalized for three days and received stitches as part of his medical treatment.

Mr. Watler’s friend, Jason Wood, was charged with threatening to cause serious harm and obstructing a police officer in the lawful execution of his duties as part of the same incident. The pair were tried separately, though, as Watler’s offense necessitated a hearing in Grand Court.

Mr. Watler pleaded guilty at his arraignment, a fact that Justice Marlene Carter cited Wednesday as part of the mitigation involved in his sentencing. Justice Carter also cited Mr. Watler’s record of no prior convictions, several character references and the defendant’s remorse in mitigation.

The crown had suggested to Justice Carter that Mr. Watler’s attack on the officer amounted to a category 2 offense, but defense attorney Jonathon Hughes submitted that it was a category 3 offense, carrying lesser harm and culpability. Justice Carter ruled that it was a category 3 offense but said that the defendant’s behavior was “disrespectful and unjustified” prior to levying her sentence.

Justice Carter found that Mr. Watler should be sentenced for 15 months, but he was given a 1/3 reduction due to his early plea. The justice told the defendant that his actions amounted to a “single, unguarded moment,” and warned him that he could have faced a stricter sentencing under other circumstances.

1 COMMENT

  1. Anywhere else in the world, you assault a police officer, you go to jail. Assault anyone who is there to serve the public – fire service, paramedic, nurse in the emergency room – you go to jail. In the Cayman Islands you get to go litter picking in your spare time.

    And you wonder why there is a sense of lawlessness? I trust the police officer now sure this person for personal damages.

  2. I do not understand how the judge could let the defendant off without even a day in jail. This was a serious offence, more so because it was committed against a police officer, who suffered serious injury. This verdict is only going to encourage similar behaviour from the thugs in our community.

  3. In the UK there is provision for the DPP to review what is deemed to be an unduly lenient sentence, and it is quite common to have these sentences increased/amended. Is this the case here and if so, surely the sentence should be reviewed with a view to replacing the suspension with actual jail time.

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