A Honduran national was sentenced on Friday to two months imprisonment after pleading guilty the previous week to bigamy. Defendant Kenia Alonzo Solis, 29, was also told that she was to be deported “as soon as possible” from the Cayman Islands.
Justice Michael Wood passed sentence after hearing the background of the offense from senior Crown counsel Nicole Petit and mitigation from defense attorney Neil Kumar.
The offense was going through a ceremony of marriage with Aric Matthew Brooks on March 12, 2016, when in fact a man she had married in 2005 was still living and there had been no divorce.
In presenting details, Ms. Petit handed up to the judge a statement signed by Mr. Brooks. She noted that he was deceased.
Justice Wood observed that Mr. Brooks was just 28 years old, and asked the cause of death. Ms. Petit said he had committed suicide.
The judge did not say anything, but paused before he continued the hearing. Mr. Brooks’s statement was not read aloud.
Later, in passing sentence, Justice Wood told Ms. Solis that when Mr. Brooks discovered she was still married to another man, “he was naturally shocked, angry and upset. It obviously had significant impact on him. You deceived him, causing significant distress.” Mr. Kumar acknowledged that Mr. Brooks was distressed, as set out in his statement. The attorney said Mr. Brooks had made an appointment with an immigration officer, but cancelled it, “because he didn’t want to get her in trouble.”
The first time the charge of bigamy against Ms. Solis was in court was Tuesday, March 27 this year. Three days earlier, on Saturday, March 24, Mr. Brooks had been pronounced dead after being transported to Cayman Islands Hospital for emergency treatment.
At the time of her first appearance in court for bigamy, Ms. Solis had recently been released from prison for assault causing actual bodily harm to Mr. Brooks. She had pleaded guilty, admitting that she took the wine glass her husband was holding and smashed it into his face, breaking the glass and cutting him across the eye. That incident occurred at a social function in Bodden Town on Jan. 8 and she was arrested that night, remaining in custody.
On March 8, she was sentenced to seven weeks imprisonment after the magistrate was told that the Immigration Department had revoked the defendant’s right to remain on island.
Justice Wood summed up the information provided to him.
He said Ms. Solis had used a false passport to enter the Cayman Islands in 2003, when she was probably only 14 years old. In 2005, here in Cayman, she married a Caymanian. “That marriage has never been dissolved and you are still married to him,” he reminded the defendant.
Ms. Solis left Cayman in 2006 and returned in 2014. She met Mr. Brooks and went through a marriage ceremony with him while still married to the first man. In 2017, she was questioned by immigration official about using a false identity. She admitted it and was administratively fined $4,500.
Further records were checked and the 2005 marriage was discovered. Ms. Solis falsely claimed that she was divorced, saying she had signed divorce-related documents.
In November, 2017, her residency certificate was revoked. The judge said the only reason she had remained on island after that was to await the outcome of this case.
He thanked Ms. Petit for the helpful precedent case she had provided, saying sentences for bigamy had to vary depending on circumstances. In many cases the sentence could be non-custodial, but this case had clearly crossed the custody threshold, he stated.
The sentence would have been three months, but he bore in mind her guilty plea and gave her the full one-third discount for a term of two month imprisonment, immediate. “As soon as possible” after that, she is to be deported from the Cayman Islands, the judge said.