Evidence concluded late Friday in the trial of five immigration officers and two civilians charged with conspiracy to commit fraud against the government.

Each of the seven defendants pleaded not guilty and chose to give evidence after the Crown completed its presentation of evidence the previous Friday.

They are charged with conspiring with each other and/or others to commit fraud by arranging for payment of rewards to public officers as consideration for providing assistance to work permit applicants who were required to pass an English language test.

The test is a requirement for anyone from a country in which English is not the primary language. The countries specifically mentioned were Honduras, Cuba and Dominican Republic.

The alleged offenses were said to have occurred between August 2015 and June 2016. The five officers are further charged with failure to report the solicitation of an advantage or reward.

- Advertisement -

Each defendant was questioned by his or her attorney. Other defense attorneys then had the option of asking questions. Acting Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran followed. If there were any points that needed clarification, the defendant’s attorney was allowed to ask further questions.

Some of the defendants called witnesses.

Much of the evidence each defendant gave had to do with messages recovered from their phones.

The Crown’s case is that references to money had to do with a payment of CI$600 or US$800 for a passing score on the English test.

The defendants explained the references as pertaining to “numbers” (a lottery that is illegal in Cayman), “partners” (a savings scheme in which participants contribute a specific sum on a regular basis and then take turns collecting the entire amount) or commissions on rental agreements where the defendant referred an incoming passenger to the owner of the rental property.

Justice Philip St. John-Stevens released jurors until 11 a.m. Monday, telling them they would hear speeches from counsel and then he would sum up the case for them.

- Advertisement -

Support local journalism. Subscribe to the all-access pass for the Cayman Compass.

Subscribe now