Former sports coach Steve Anthony Smith was sentenced on Monday to nine months’ imprisonment for indecent assault against two teenage girls.
Magistrate Grace Donalds, accepting the request of Crown counsel Darlene Oko, said she would recommend an order for Mr. Smith’s deportation.
The first assault was against a student, 15, whom he had been coaching for some time. On bail for that charge, he assaulted a 17-year-old girl whom he had recently met, by inappropriately touching and questioning her.
The magistrate noted that in both cases, the touching was through clothing and did not involve bare skin or the individual’s private parts.
Mr. Smith lost his bail after the court heard of the second complaint against him. Defense attorney Nicholas Dixey suggested that the five months and one week Mr. Smith has spent in custody since then was the equivalent of a seven- or eight-month sentence so that the defendant could either be released or placed on a suspended sentence.
He and Ms. Oko had agreed that the harm caused and the culpability of the defendant meant that the offense merited a sentence ranging between a high level of community service to one-year imprisonment, with a starting point of 26 weeks.
In reaching her sentencing decision, the magistrate noted aggravating features, such as the wide disparity in ages. Mr. Smith turned 49 in April this year.
Further, in the first case, he had been warned by the girl’s mother and had disregarded the warning. In the second case, he had violated a condition of his bail by being with a person under the age of 18 while unaccompanied.
The magistrate also referred to the impact of the offending on the victims, as explained by Ms. Oko.
The first girl said she had trusted Mr. Smith; she had found him to be a good listener who gave her sound advice. Now the girl was afraid he would hurt her after he came out of prison.
Both girls struggled with issues of whom to trust. They questioned what they could have done to keep themselves out of harm’s way – even though they were not at fault.
The magistrate accepted that Mr. Smith had pleaded guilty, but there had to be a special hearing because he did not agree to the specifics of the charges. The girls had to come to court and give evidence. In those circumstances, the magistrate said she would give a 10 percent discount instead of the usual one-third, reducing a 10-month sentence to nine months.
She said her sentencing took into account the many character references provided by people in the community and the fact that Mr. Smith had no previous convictions.
Mr. Dixey had emphasized the amount of good work the defendant had done in the community since coming to Cayman in 2013. His history in Jamaica and here had been “stellar,” the attorney said. One reference had described Mr. Smith as “the most inspiring person in my life.”
This “inappropriate and troubling behavior” had destroyed Mr. Smith’s reputation and had caused difficulties for his family, the attorney said. He described Mr. Smith as a fantasist whose behavior was more like a schoolboy. “He was delusional as to what these young women might think of him,” Mr. Dixey suggested. “He brought this on himself, but he has been well punished for it.”
Ms. Oko also asked for a Sexual Harm Prevention Order. She explained that conditions attached would not necessarily be imposed outside Cayman jurisdiction, but “notification of the order will go with him” so that people elsewhere would be aware of Mr. Smith’s need to maintain proper boundaries.
Time in custody is to count toward the sentence.